No noose for killer marines

New Delhi : In a curious U- turn, the Union Home Ministry has asked the National Investigation Agency, India’s anti- terrorism body, not to try the two accused Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen under a maritime security law that carries the death sentence.

No noose for killer marines

The Home Ministry last month gave the NIA permission to prosecute the Italians under the Maritime law that’s part of an anti- piracy and anti- terrorism Act but that decision has now been revoked.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were guarding an Italian cargo ship when they allegedly mistook the fishermen for pirates and opened fire. Now, the offence would entail merely imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years.Earlier, the case could have incurred the death penalty.

Italy says that the marines should not be tried in India because the shooting took place in international waters. India disagrees.

The Supreme Court ruled in January 2013 that a trial would take place in India but charges have not yet been filed, partly because of confusion regarding which law the men should be prosecuted under.

A huge diplomatic dispute was triggered in March last year when Italy said the marines, who had been allowed to travel home to vote in the national election by the Supreme Court, would not return.

It finally sent the naval officers back on a special plane after getting an assurance from India that they would not be tried under laws that allow for the death penalty.

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