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Italian marines back in Kochi

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 4, 2013, DHNS : 1:57 IST
Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (R) and Salvatore Girone come out of the office of the police commissioner in Kochi on Friday. PTI
Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone on Friday returned to India after a brief Christmas sojourn with their relatives in Italy.

A special aircraft of the Italian Defence Ministry, carrying the two marines who are facing trial for shooting down two Indian fishermen, landed at Kochi International Airport at 8:30 am. Thereafter, they drove to the Kochi city police commissioner’s office to report their return, in adherence to the Kerala High Court directive.

From there, the marines went to the additional sessions court in Kollam to surrender their passports and claim Rs 6 crore, deposited as bank guarantee against the release of their passports.

Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo, who was present when the marines arrived, said Italy had honoured its assurance that the duo would definitely return if allowed to visit home for Christmas.

“I hope that the people of India, especially of Kerala, have realised that our country respects Indian law and its judicial system,’’ Cutillo said. The high court had directed the marines to return by 3 pm on January 10.

Lattore and Girone were part of the security team of an Italian oil tanker, “the Enrica Lexi.” They shot at an Indian fishing vessel off the Kollam cost on February 15, mistaking it for a pirate craft, killing two fishermen on board.

Their trial will begin at the additional sessions court in Kollam on January 15.

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