Brussels

Italian defense minister expects verdict on Italian marines

Indian supreme court back in session

Italian defense minister expects verdict on Italian marines

Brussels, November 19 - The Italian defense minister said on Monday he expected a verdict shortly from India's Supreme Court regarding the fate of two Italian anti-pirate marines currently detained in India on criminal charges that include killing two fishermen in February. "We are expecting the sentence from the Indian Supreme Court, which today finished its 'recession' period, and thus returns to work," Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola told reporters after a meeting of European defense ministers in Brussels on Monday. "We are confident that in the next few days there could be a verdict, and we are confident that Italy's good reasons could be recognized," Di Paola added. The Italian government has been pressing India to help resolve the fate of two Italian anti-pirate marines and has stressed Italy's wish to bring them home. India's Supreme Court has yet to rule on Italy's petition that it should have jurisdiction over the case. Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February for the shooting of the two fisherman in the southern port of Kerala, Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki. The Italian government believes 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 on an Italian ship.

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