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Marines case: Italy recalls ambassador, summons Indian envoy

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 19:36

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Italy on Tuesday summoned Indian Ambassador in Rome hours after it recalled its ambassador from India in protest over a fresh delay in the legal proceedings against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen.

Indian Ambassador Basant Kumar Gupta was summoned today by Italy to voice its "dismay" at the "unacceptable delay" in trying the Italian marines.

Gupta, who was summoned by the Foreign Ministry Segretary-General Michele Valensise, was told the case "shows an Indian desire to draw out the affair beyond all limits", Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Italy`s reaction came just hours after the Supreme Court in New Delhi postponed till February 24, the hearing involving marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, facing murder charges. The hearing was earlier scheduled for today.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Daniele Mancini will return to Italy for consultations, the foreign ministry said in a statement, condemning "a new and unacceptable delay by the Indian Supreme Court" in a case that has heightened tensions between the two countries.

A Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was immediately postponed because prosecutors are still waiting for the Indian Justice Ministry to decide which law to try the case under, according to Italian media. The next hearing will be on February 24, an AFP report said.

The move comes a day after Mateo Renzi assumed office as Italy`s new prime minister. Informed sources in Rome said it was natural that he would want to be briefed on the case against the marines.

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court today asked the central government to categorically spell out its stand about the law under which the marines are to be tried.

An apex court bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan asked the government to spell out its stand in writing by next Wednesday, when it takes up the matter for further hearing.
Italian Defence Minister Mario Mauro said today that the Indian authorities have hit "the limit" with the latest delay by the Supreme Court of a ruling on the case.

"This measure is the limit and what`s even bigger is the indignation that has hit the whole nation and cannot fail to spread to the entire international community," ANSA quoted Mauro as saying.

"There is no justice in this case. We are faced with ambiguous, unreliable behaviour on the part of the Indian authorities," he added.

The marines, Massimilliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, have been held in India since February 2012 when they allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the coast of the south Indian state of Kerala, mistaking them for pirates.

The marines were serving as security personnel on an Italian oil tanker crossing the Indian Ocean.

India claims jurisdiction in the case while Italy alleges the incident took place in international waters and the marines should be tried in their home country.

With IANS inputs

First Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 19:36

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