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Italian marines: Supreme Court to hear government response

Posted on Feb 24 2014 | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 24 : The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the Centre's response on whether the two Italian marines accused in the Kerala fishermen killing case, should be tried under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA Act), which provides only death penalty as punishment.

Though Italy firmly objected to booking the marines under the Act, saying they are neither terrorists nor pirates, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said the government will follow the country's laws.

Italy on Feb 18 recalled its Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini as a protest over delay in legal proceedings against its two marines.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Feb 7 revised the sanction given to prosecute the two Italian marines and decided to drop the clause on death penalty, media report said.

This means the two Italian marines- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone- charged with murdering Kerala fishermen will not face the death penalty if convicted.

Going by Italy's request, India decided to charge the marines under a new section of the law, where the maximum penalty is not the death penalty.

The marines will now face a maximum of 10 years in jail for the shooting.

On Feb 15, 2012, the security officials of Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen mistaking them as pirates in the high seas off Ambalapuzha in Kerala. They were subsequently arrested.

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