India marines ask to be allowed home for Christmas

Napolitano vows swift solution to 'painful' affair

India marines ask to be allowed home for Christmas

Kochi, December 14 - Two Italian marines held for 10 months in India on suspicion of killing two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates on Friday asked a court to let them go home to spend Christmas with their families. The court in the southern Indian state of Kerala said it would examine the request from the pair, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, next week. In Rome President Giorgio Napolitano met with their relatives, pledging a "constant, strong commitment by the institutions for a rapid solution to the painful affair". On Thursday Italy officially asked India's Supreme Court to issue its verdict on the case before Christmas. Latorre and Girone have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India since being detained in February for charges that include shooting Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki during an international anti-piracy mission off the Kerala coast. "It is with deep perplexity and concern that the Italian government has seen that three months after the closing arguments, the Supreme Court has still not issued a verdict on Italy's petition", the foreign ministry said Thursday. Italy had petitioned that it should have jurisdiction over the case because the incident took place on an Italian ship. 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.

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