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Supreme Court stays trial against Italian marines

Posted on Mar 28 2014 | IBNS

New Delhi, Mar 28 : The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the trial against two Italian marines accused in the Kerala fishermen killing case.

"The SC has issued a notice to the NIA and the Government of India. It has sought Centre's response on plea by Italian marines challenging jurisdiction of NIA to prosecute and probe the case," reported CNN-IBN.

In February, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the two Italian marines will not be tried under the stringent maritime security law that provides only death penalty as punishment.

Though Italy firmly objected to booking the marines under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA 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 - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - and decided to drop the clause on death penalty.

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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