Fishermen killings: Italy summons Indian ambassador

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Fishermen killings: Italy summons Indian ambassador
New Delhi:  The foreign ministry of Italy has summoned Debabrata Saha, the Indian ambassador to Rome, after a court in Kollam today rejected the bail application of the two Italian marines who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February this year.

Italy insists that since the incident occurred in international waters, the marines should be tried in Italian courts rather than in India. The foreign ministry "firmly signalled the unacceptable judicial developments related to the Italian sailors," a statement said.

"Sailors Salvatore Girone and Latorre Massimiliano, who were involved in an international anti-piracy effort, should be protected by immunity, and India has no jurisdiction over the incident, which occurred in international waters," the statement also said.

Earlier today, rejecting the plea of Mr Massimiliano and Mr Girone, who are lodged in a jail in India for the last three months, District and Sessions Judge PD Rajan said releasing them from prison at this juncture might affect the progress of the case.

The marines, while on board Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie', had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen- Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Bi - on February 15 mistaking them for pirates. They were arrested on February 19 and sent to the Central Prison at Thiruvanathapuram.

Police had yesterday filed the chargesheet in a court in Kollam charging them with murder under the Indian Penal Code and also invoking the International Maritime Law in the incident which had led to a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

Hours after the chargesheet was filed, Italy had called back its Ambassador to India for "consultations".

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