Italian marines won't return for fishermen killing trial
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The two Italian marines facing trial in India for allegedly killing two fishermen, and allowed by the Supreme Court to go home to vote in elections, will not return to India, the Italian Foreign ministry said Monday.
Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year, were permitted to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's polls.
They also spent Christmas in Italy after a Kerala court allowed them to join their families for the holiday, on condition they returned by January 10, which they did.
The Italian Foreign ministry said India had not responded to Italian requests to seek a diplomatic solution to the case and there was now a formal dispute between the two countries over the terms of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea.
"Italy has informed the Indian government that, given the formal initiation of an international dispute between the two states, the marines...will not return to India at the end of their home leave," a statement said.
"We have received a communication from Italy late tonight. We will examine it carefully," the MEA spokesperson said in response. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the state's fear that the marines would not return had come true.
"Kerala had strongly opposed their bail applications fearing they would not come back," Chandy told The Indian Express. "We are not just registering our protest, but want strong action from the Central government to bring the marines back."
A senior lawyer associated with the case in Delhi said MEA would have to take the next step. "It is a very serious matter. The ambassador had undertaken to bring back the marines and he will be asked to do so. But this is a diplomatic row now," he said. —with inputs from ENS, Delhi
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