M A I N   N E W S

Marines to return for trial, says Italy

Rome, March 21
The Italian Government has said it will return to India two marines facing charges of killing two fishermen.

The two — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — had been granted a special leave last month by an Indian court to return to Italy to vote in elections but had skipped bail.

This reverses an earlier decision by the Foreign Ministry saying the two would not return on March 22.

The Italian Government said on Thursday it had received “ample assurances” from the Indian authorities “on the treatment that the naval guards will receive and the defence of their fundamental rights”.

“The government decided also in the interests of the naval guards to maintain the commitment taken when they were granted leave to take part in the elections to return to India by March 22. The naval guards agreed to this decision,” it said.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti met with defence minister Giampaolo Di Paola and Steffan de Mistura, a junior foreign minister, to discuss the issue on Thursday. The government had announced on March 11 that the naval guards would not return from their leave, prompting the Indian Supreme Court to issue an order asking the Italian Ambassador not leave the country. The marines were on anti-pirate duty aboard a cargo ship off India's coast in February last year when the fishermen, aboard an Indian fishing boat, were killed. Italy has insisted the shooting happened in international waters during an international anti-piracy mission and that Italy should have jurisdiction. — Agencies





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