Italian marines back in India

New Delhi, March 22 : Two Italian marines, undergoing trial here for killing two Indian fishermen, returned to India Friday to face prosecution, official sources said here.

"The Italian marines have reached India," an official in the ministry of external affairs told IANS.

Italy had earlier this month refused to send back the two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, leading to a political storm in India with opposition parties slamming the government for its handling of the issue.

The marines, posted aboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie on security duty, had Feb 15, 2012, opened fire at a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, suspecting that the boat carried pirates. Two fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were killed in the firing.

The Supreme Court had Feb 22 permitted them to leave India to vote in the Italian national elections, with the promise that they would return in four weeks.

But on March 11, Italy informed India that the marines would not be sent back, leading to a diplomatic stand-off.

Following this, Italian ambassador here Daniele Mancini was restrained by the apex court from leaving India for having reneged on his word.

--IANS (Posted on 22-03-2013)

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