Fishermen killing case: Two marines on way to India

Fishermen killing case: Two marines on way to India

Fishermen killing case: Two marines on way to India

The two marines charged with the killing of fishermen have left Italy and are on their way to India, just in time to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court for their return.

The move follows an assurance given by Italy to India at the highest level that the marines will return in accordance with the timeline set by the Supreme Court, an official spokesperson in the MEA said today.

In an assurance given by Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini, the marines who were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in general elections, were to return by today.

Italy had last night said that it will send back to India the two marines to face trial after receiving an assurance from the Indian government about the protection of their fundamental rights.

Italy's previous decision not to send marines - Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone - to face trial in the fishermen killing case triggered a diplomatic standoff, with the Indian Supreme Court barring the Italian ambassador from leaving the country.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had last week termed as "unacceptable" Italy's refusal to send its two marines back to India and said the issue will be taken up with that country.

India had withhold posting of its Ambassador-designate Basant Kumar Gupta to Rome and the Indian government had said further steps will be taken after completion of the review of bilateral ties with Italy.

The Italian government, which had given an undertaking before the court that the marines will be sent back, had on March 11 sent a note verbale to the Indian government informing it that the two will not be sent back.

On January 18, the apex court had turned down the Italian government's plea that the Indian courts had no jurisdiction in the case and had held that the two marines should be tried by a special court constituted by the Centre.

It had directed that the two be shifted to Delhi and would remain under it's 'custody' till the special court is set up.

The two marines were on board an Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, last year.