|File photo of Italian Marines (Pic: The Hindu)|
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Italy asks India to discharge marines
NEW DELHI (AA) – The Italian government asked India's Supreme Court on Wednesday to discharge two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012, on the grounds that the judicial process has been delayed.
The Supreme Court responded to Italian complaints about a formal chargesheet still not being submitted, two years after the incident, by scheduling the hearing for Monday.
The arrest of the two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimilano Latorre, on the charge that they had killed Ajesh Binki and Jelestine off the Keralan coast in February 2012 sparked a diplomatic row between India and Italy.
The Italian government claims the incident happened in international, not Indian, waters and the marines should be tried in an Italian court, a claim India strongly contests.
The marines, who were deployed on-board the Italian oil tanker ship MT Enrica Lexie, recieved bail and are staying in the Italian Embassy in New Delhi while they await trial.
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) concluded that the marines did not fire any warning shot or issue a verbal warning by loudspeaker before the actual shooting.
India has promised Italy that the marines would not be sentenced to death. M.J. Akbar, a journalist and commentator who is critical of the judicial delay, told Anadolu Agency he was “baffled” by this stance.
“The Indian government can’t guarantee the outcome of the trial at any cost. Only a judge has the jurisdiction to determine it.”
Anadolu Agency, January 15, 2014