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Kerala opposes Italian marines` plea to go home

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 18:16

Kochi: The Kerala government Tuesday opposed in the high court the plea by two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February, to facilitate their visit to Italy for Christmas, saying it would "torpedo" the trial even as the Centre`s response was sought by Wednesday.

Hearing the plea of the marines for relaxation of bail conditions, Justice P Bhavadasan directed the Union government to inform by tomorrow whether the assurance given by the Italian embassy on the return of the two marines here after celebrating Christmas, was acceptable.

The Centre should inform its stand to the court by 1.45 pm tomorrow, the judge said when a petition by Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone came up.

Kerala Director General of Prosecution T Asaf Ali said there are parallel proceedings pending before the office of Public Prosecutor Tribunal of Rome for "intervening" in international waters. If the government of Italy witholds them for further prosecution of the case, "we have no legal remedy to bring them back", he said.

He said their travel to Italy will "torpedo" the entire trial here. However, the marines can travel anywhere in Kerala, he said.

As per their bail conditions, the marines cannot leave the territorial limits of Kochi Police Commissioner`s office and have to stay within 10 km radius from it.

He said the relatives and friends of the marines can come down to Kerala to celebrate Christmas.
Justice Bhavadasan asked the state and central governments whether they accepted the authority of Consul General of Italy in India who has sworn in an affidavit assuring return of the two accused. The court also suggested to the petitioners to get in touch with External Affairs Ministry.

The DGP said the "remedy is only political and not judicial. If a political decision is taken, it can be accepted".

Italy`s Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paolo had on Sunday visited the two marines and hoped the case would be solved in accordance with national laws and international justice.

Paolo had also made an appeal for allowing Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone to return to Italy for Christmas.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 18:16

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