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Marines case not a bilateral matter but a legal issue: India

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 23:19

New Delhi: India on Monday said the case involving two Italian marines was about ensuring that those who are charged with the death of Indian nationals are held accountable as per law and that it was not a bilateral matter.

"This is not a bilateral issue between India and Italy. It is a legal issue about ensuring that those who are charged with the death of Indian nationals are held to account for it in accordance with Indian law," the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Earlier in the day, government had told the Supreme Court that the two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012 will not be prosecuted under the stringent anti-piracy SUA law that attracts death penalty as maximum punishment.

The Centre told the court that the contentious issue between India and Italy on slapping Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA) against the marines has been resolved as it has decided to go by opinion of the Law Minister, according to which provisions under the anti-piracy law are "not attracted" in this case.

The Italian marines had allegedly shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February, 2012 and ever since the two countries have been wrangling over their prosecution.

The Italian government has expressed its disappointment over the slow pace of trial of the two marines and recalled its Ambassador in New Delhi Daniele Mancini for consultations last week while accusing Indian authorities of "unreliable" behaviour.

Italian foreign ministry had also summoned Indian envoy Basant Kumar Gupta on the issue.

First Published: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 23:19
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