Kerala against allowing Italian marines to go home for Christmas

Kerala against allowing Italian marines to go home for Christmas
Kochi:  The Kerala government on Wednesday opposed in the High Court in Kochi the plea of two Italian marines, facing trial for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen, that they be allowed to visit home for Christmas.

Earlier, the state's Director General of Prosecutions T Asif Ali had said the Kerala government cannot accept the undertaking given by Italian Ambassador in India Giacomo Stanfelice that the marines, Massimillano and Girone, would return to India after celebrating Christmas.

The Centre has told the high court that it will give the undertaking due consideration.

Mr Ali argued against the marines' plea, citing a precedence in the French espionage case, wherein the accused never returned to India for trial after being allowed to leave for France.

He said the plea was an attempt to get the marines out of India and the Italian government's intentions were doubtful.

The counsel for the marines, P Vijaya Bhanu, informed the court that the Italian foreign minister too has given a written undertaking that he would ensure the return of the two accused by the date assigned by the court.

The two marines were arrested from the Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' on February 19 for allegedly shooting two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, mistaking them to be pirates. They are on bail and staying in a hotel in Kochi. The judgement has been reserved till Thursday.

(With Inputs from PTI)

Story First Published: December 19, 2012 23:40 IST

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