Italian defense minister visits marines in India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:18pm IST

Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola (C) speaks at a news conference as Italian sailors Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre stand beside him at a hotel lawn in Kochi December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Sivaram V

Italian Defense Minister Giampaolo di Paola (C) speaks at a news conference as Italian sailors Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre stand beside him at a hotel lawn in Kochi December 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sivaram V

Related Topics

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (Reuters) - Italy's Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paolo on Sunday visited two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala, stepping up pressure to allow the men home for Christmas after the case flared into a diplomatic spat.

The sailors, members of a military security team protecting the cargo ship Enrica Lexie from pirate attacks, open fired on a fishing boat they mistook for a pirate craft in February. The killings of the unarmed fishermen triggered outrage in India.

Earlier in the week, Italy summoned India's ambassador in Rome and expressed "strong disappointment" that India's Supreme Court had delayed a decision on which country the two marines should be tried in.

Italy wants the Supreme Court to rule that the shooting took place in international waters, outside India's jurisdiction. That would open the way for the marines to be tried in Italy, where their case has become a national cause celebre.

The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, have filed a petition with Kerala's High Court, seeking permission to return to Italy for two weeks over Christmas.

Latorre and Girone are facing murder charges at the Kerala court, which is due to decide on their request on Tuesday.

"Nobody more than India knows the values of festivities. For us Christmas is our biggest festivity. We are confident that the Indian people will understand this," Di Paolo told reporters in the port city of Kochi, where the marines are on bail.

"We have respect in the Supreme Court of India. We are confident that the case will be decided according to international laws," Di Paolo said, accompanied by Italy's ambassador to India.

Di Paolo arrived in Kochi on Saturday from Afghanistan. He is expected to return to Italy from Kerala without meeting senior Indian officials.

(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Sundar Pichai Elevated

Google's Pichai to oversee major products and services.  Full Article 

Need For Reforms

Need For Reforms

Euro zone risks "relapse into recession" without structural reforms - Draghi.  Full Article 

Diwali Sales

Diwali Sales

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

World Bank Rival

World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches W.Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Wal-Mart India

Wal-Mart India

Murali Lanka appointed as Wal-Mart India operations chief  Full Article 

Health Of Lenders

Health Of Lenders

25 European banks set to fail health checks - sources.  Full Article 

Special Report

Special Report

Why Madrid's poor fear Goldman Sachs and Blackstone  Full Article 

India Insight

India Insight

Kalki Koechlin on her role as a disabled girl in “Margarita, With a Straw”  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage