Italian marines accused of killing fishermen to return home

Foreign minister says they will be released from India

Italian marines accused of killing fishermen to return home

(ANSA) - Rome, October 15 - Italy's two anti-pirate marines imprisoned in India for allegedly killing two local fishermen last February "will come home," Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said Monday. "I cannot say the day, but they will come home," he added. The two marines have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being arrested and jailed in February. India's supreme court last month began to examine whether Italy should be granted jurisdiction over the case, and promised a decision within 20 days. Last Thursday, Terzi declared he was "astounded and disconcerted" by the Indian justice system's dithering over the case. The Italian government has stumped for its position that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission. Defense lawyer Harish Salve said the two were on board the Enrica Lexie vessel due to an Italian government decision based on a UN resolution to protect ships navigating pirate-infested waters. Indian police filed charges against the two that include the murder of fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki. The Italian marines were granted bail in June, but were required to remain in Indian territory as their case wound its way through Indian courts.

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