Rome: An emotional Italian defence minister Giampaolo Di Paola has said that the two Italian marines who were sent back to India to face trial for the killing of Indian fishermen did so willingly.
Italian marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — were sent back to India on March 22 to be tried for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen, in a U-turn after Rome had said they would not return after being allowed to come home to vote.
The decision to hand them back, after a diplomatic tussle in which the Italian ambassador was blocked from leaving India, split the government and foreign minister Giulio Terzi resigned earlier this week saying his view that they should not be returned had not been listened to.
Di Paola criticized Terzi for quitting and said he would not abandon "the ship or the marines".
Defense minister Giampaolo Di Paola was speaking at a ceremony in Naples honoring the 90th anniversary of the Italian air force when his voice cracked and his eyes watered up, Italian news agency ANSA reported.