New Delhi

'One obstacle left in India murder probe' says Italian envoy

Italian marines charged with double homicide in New Delhi

'One obstacle left in India murder probe' says Italian envoy

New Delhi, August 14 - The Indian investigation into the deaths of two fisherman allegedly at the hands of two Italian marines is coming to a close, an Italian official said Wednesday. The only outstanding issue to be resolved involves four other witnesses to the incident, who will not be sent to India to be interviewed, said Staffan de Mistura, the Italian government's envoy to India. "Only one obstacle remains in order to arrive at the end of the investigation of the incident involving the marines in India," the envoy told ANSA. De Mistura arrived in Indian one day earlier as Italy made a fresh push to wrap up the case of the marines accused of murdering two Indian fishermen they allegedly mistook for pirates. His plan for the three-day visit was to meet with the pair, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, and their lawyers in an effort to find what Italy hopes will be a satisfactory solution to the case. De Mistura was also scheduled to hold talks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday. The government envoy told ANSA that four other marines who were on board the E. Lexie merchant ship with Latorre and Girone will not be sent to New Delhi to testify on the incident in which the two fishermen died. Latorre and Girone are accused by Indian authorities of the double homicides of Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki in Feburary 2012 after allegedly mistaking them for pirates while guarding the merchant ship off the coast of the southern Kerala region. Italy's Foreign Minister Emma Bonino last week repeated the government's intention to bring home the two marines. Last month Bonino said Latorre and Girone would most likely return home by Christmas. "We are working on it and I am confident," she said. Kurshid has said India is working "as quickly as possible" to resolve the case. "We are trying to solve obstacles in the context of our laws, (and how they relate to Italian laws)" he said recently. However, Khurshid has refused to set a time frame for finalizing investigation and trial of the marines. India has said that it hopes to conclude an inquiry by the end of August. Khurshid recently assured Italy that the marines would not face the death penalty.

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