Court releases passports of Italian marines

Setting the stage for their return to Italy for Christmas, a local court today released the passports of the two Italian marines, facing murder charges in Kerala, after they made an unconditional undertaking that they would return to the state by January 10.

The marines appeared before the Additional District and Sessions court here and executed the bond and other guarantee set by the Kerala High Court yesterday for allowing them to join their families in Italy during Christmas.

The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, and two diplomats of the Italian embassy in India gave a joint undertaking before Judge T G Madhu that they would be back in Kerala by January 10 and would appear in the trial court here on January 15.

They also executed a guarantee for Rs six crore in the local branch of a commercial bank here and made other undertakings prescribed by the High Court in its order yesterday.

CPI(M) youth wing activists staged a black flag demonstration as they were coming out of their lawyer's office in the town after completing the formalities in the court.

The two marines, facing criminal trial on charges of shooting to death two Indian fishermen ten months ago off Kerala coast, were permitted by the High Court to go home for two weeks while asking them to give a bank guarantee of Rs six crore and imposing stringent conditions. They were arrested from Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' on February 19.

The court had said they can leave India and remain in Italy for two weeks from the date of their departure and should return to India before 3 PM on Jan 10, 2013.

Their passports can be released on production of necessary travel documents for exit and re-entry and on filing of an unconditional undertaking that they would return to India and surrender their passports at 3 PM on January 10, it had said.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) veteran and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan criticised the Congress-led UDF Government in the state for not challenging the High Court order that allowed the marines to go home.

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