Naples

Italian defence minister tears up over marines

Men on trial in India at center of political, diplomatic row

Italian defence minister tears up over marines

Naples, March 28 - The Italian defense minister held back tears Thursday in a speech about the two Italian marines on trial for murder in India and at the center of a tangled diplomatic row. Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola was speaking at a ceremony in Naples honoring the 90th anniversary of the Italian airforce when his voice cracked and his eyes watered up. In a dramatic U-turn, the government decided last week to return Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone to face charges in New Delhi for allegedly mistaking fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki for pirates and shooting them from aboard an Italian merchant ship while in international waters last year. The government initially had announced that the marines, who were temporarily in Italy to vote, would not go back, but it later changed its mind. Giulio Terzi resigned over the incident on Tuesday, blaming the government of outgoing Premier Mario Monti for not listening to him. Di Paola, who was beside Terzi as he stepped down before parliament, vowed instead not to quit "and abandon the ship" and forget the marines.

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