Marines questioned by Rome prosecutors over Indian fishermen

Pair set to return to India soon following Christmas permit

Marines questioned by Rome prosecutors over Indian fishermen

Rome, January 3 - Two Italian marines who face trial in India for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission were questioned by Rome prosecutors on Thursday. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are in Italy after being given a two-week permit to return home for the Christmas holidays by an Indian court. They are set to return to India soon. The pair have been at the centre of a diplomatic row between Italy and India after they allegedly shot fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki off the southern Indian coast last February. They marines, who alleged mistook the fishermen for pirates and face charges that include homicide, were released from detention on bail in June, but were confined to Indian territory until they were granted the permit for Christmas. Italy believes it should have jurisdiction over the case as it took place aboard an Italian merchant ship that the marines were guarding. Rome also argues that the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission. India's Supreme Court has repeatedly put off giving a verdict on the case's jurisdiction and last month Indian authorities said it would be at least another three months before a ruling was handed down. Rome prosecutors have opened an investigation into the case in which Latorre and Girone are being probed for manslaughter.

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