Italian marines to request formal charges from SC

Italian marines to request formal charges from SC

Lawyers of the two Italian marines facing trial for murder in India will Monday ask India's Supreme Court for formal police charges, Rome's envoy in the case has said.

"There won't be an immediate decision from the Supreme Court but it will have to indicate when it will rule on the request," said diplomat Staffan De Mistura.

De Mistura attended a meeting in Rome Friday over the case of Italian riflemen Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, who have been detained in India for nearly two years on suspicion of shooting dead two fisherman off the coast of the south Indian state of Kerala in February 2012.

Italy intends to ask India to send the pair home, pending formal charges and a trial, De Mistura said.

Mistura attended a meeting in Rome Friday on the case with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Foreign Affairs Minister Emma Bonino, and Defence Minister Mario Mauro.

The Italian government also wants assurances from India that it will keep an earlier promise that Girone and Latorre will not face the death penalty if found guilty, Letta's office said in a statement after the meeting.

"I am pleased to note expressions of solidarity from the European Union and the intention of the Italian parliament to send a delegation to India in a gesture of solidarity with the marines," Letta said Friday.

"The Italian government will continue to take action, including at international level," he added.

The two marines claimed that they thought the two unarmed fishermen were pirates and only fired warning shots in the air.

Italy disputes India's jurisdiction over the case, claiming the incident took place in international waters.

The case sparked a major diplomatic row between the two countries when Rome refused to return Latorre and Girone to New Delhi after they were allowed home to vote in national elections.

Amid escalating tension, Italy relented and sent the marines back when it received assurances from India that the pair would not face the death penalty.

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