Italian marines return to India

Source : IBNS
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 22, 2013 14:15 hrs

The two Italian marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - facing trial in India for a high seas shooting that killed two Kerala fishermen returned to India from Italy on Friday evening amid assurance by the Indian government that they would not face death penalty.

They landed at Delhi airport on the last day of the Supreme Court´s deadline for their return, after high drama for days when the Italian government said they would not send back the marines who were allowed to go home for voting.

Reacting to the development, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said: "As the Ministry of External Affairs, it was our job to do it (get marines back) and we did it."

"We clarified in writing that if the marines come back in the period given to them, then they would be complying with the Supreme Court order and they would be free to move in the country as per restrictions given by the apex court," he said.

Earlier, Khurshid making a statement in the lower house said the marines will not be subjected to death penalty since their case is not rarest of rare crime.

Italy on Thursday said it would send the two marines to India to face trial in accordance with the Supreme Court´s deadline for their return, that ends on Friday.

After they were allowed to go to Italy for voting, Italy had said they would not send back the marines for trial in India despite giving a commitment to the Supreme Court of India that the accused would return to face trial in India.

Khurshid making a statement in the lower house (Lok Sabha) said India was informed through a diplomatic approach that the Government of Italy would be willing to send the two marines back to India as per its commitment.

"It sought from India clarifications regarding the conditions applicable to the marines on their return and the provisions regarding the death penalty that could be applicable in this case which was an Italian concern," said Khurshid.

"Notwithstanding the pending proceedings, the Government has informed the Italian Government that the two marines will not be liable for arrest if they return within the time frame laid down by the Supreme Court of India, and shall once again be bound by the conditions contained in the order passed by the Court on 18th January 2013; and that, according to well settled Indian jurisprudence, this case would not fall in the category of matters which attract the death penalty, that is to say the rarest of rare cases," he said.

"Therefore, there need not be any apprehension in this regard," he added.

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- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone- were subsequently arrested.

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