India not to oppose sick Italian marine's return if SC allows

India not to oppose sick Italian marine's return if SC allows

India today said it will not oppose on "humanitarian ground" the application of Massimiliano Latorre, one of the Italian marines facing murder charges here, to return to his country after he suffered a mild stroke recently.

The remarks by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj came as the marine submitted a request to the Supreme Court to allow him to return to Italy for his "more rapid and complete recovery" after he suffered a condition similar to a mild stroke.

"As regard to Italian marine's application in the Supreme Court, we are not opposing that application on humanitarian ground. If the court decides to give him this bail and allows him to return to Italy, we will not oppose it," the minister said.

However, she ruled out that the issue can be settled through a diplomatic dialogue as was sought by Italy, saying it has to go through the judicial process. The request for return of Latorre is motivated by the illness that necessitated admission in a hospital in New Delhi.

Latorre was hospitalised with a condition similar to a mild stroke earlier this week and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti also flew to check on his condition and to show support for his family members, who are with him in India.

Latorre and Salvatore Girone are charged with murder of two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.

They are living at the Italian embassy here after being detained two-and-a-half-years ago.
Rome has protested the long series of delays in the case, which has soured diplomatic ties between Italy and India.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court sought the Centre's clear stand on whether it has any "serious objection" on the plea of one of the Italian marines.

The apex court also exempted Latorre for two weeks Latorre from appearing before the Chanakyapuri Police Station once a week as a condition of his bail.

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