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India, Italy in talks to speed up marines trial

New Delhi, July 15, 2013 (IANS):

India and Italy are in discussions to speed up the trial of the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen .

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, to a query at a media briefing here Monday, said that the special envoy of the Italian government Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura was in India recently "and the issue of trying to overcome difficulties in speeding up the trial were discussed", including the possibility of sending an Indian team to Rome.

"Several options are on the table, and this is being discussed between Italy and our authorities who are charged with the investigation," especially since the matter involve issues of a legal nature.

"And we will take it up on which of these options is the viable option, both legally and in terms of the investigating authorities finding it appropriate," he added.

The marines had been questioned on July 10. A special court was set up in March to try the case but there has been no substantial progress in the probe being conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).  Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini had met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde last month to ascertain progress in the case.

The two Italian marines, Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, on board the Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie are accused of shooting dead two Indian fishermen Feb 15 last year, suspecting them to be pirates.

The Supreme Court in January had asked the central government, in consultation with the chief justice of India, to set up a special court to hold their trial. The marines, allowed to go home to vote in national elections in Italy, flew back to India March 22, resolving a diplomatic crisis.


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