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Italian marines to return to Kerala after celebrating Christmas with families

Kochi, Jan. 3 (ANI): The two Italian marines, facing murder charges in connection with the killing of two Indian fishermen in February last year, are set to return after spending some time with their families in Italy for the holiday season, a lawyer of the Kerala High Court said on Thursday.

The two Italian sailors, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, members of a military security team protecting the cargo ship Enrica Lexie from pirate attacks, shot the fishermen they say they mistook for pirates off the Kerala coast in February 2012, sparking a diplomatic row between New Delhi and Rome.

“They are coming back. The Italian government has honoured its promise,” said P. Vijay Bhanu, advocate to the petitioner.

“Just now we have received information from the Italian government that tonight at 9:30 the accused Marines will leave for India and reach tomorrow by 8:30 to Kochi,” Bhanu added.

The sailors, awaiting trial in New Delhi’s Supreme Court in connection with the shooting, were expected to report back to India on January 10.

Italy wants the Supreme Court to rule that the shooting took place in international waters, outside India’s jurisdiction, allowing the marines to be tried in Rome.

Indian authorities accuse the sailors of killing unarmed fishermen in a “contiguous zone” where Indian law applies. (ANI)