Delhi allows Italian marine to go home

Delhi allows Italian marine to go home

Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre. Source: YouTube

One of the two Italian marines held in India has been allowed to return home under bail conditions set by India’s Supreme Court. New Delhi approved Salvatore Girone’s request to leave India on “humanitarian grounds”.

However, the court ruled that he must report to a specific police station each month as part of his parole deal. In 2012, Girone and co-accused Massimiliano Latorre were detained for allegedly killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala, in the belief that they were pirates. The marines were assigned to anti-piracy duties on an Italian commercial vessel.

It is a temporary arrangement until the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague reaches a decision but India’s Supreme Court said that if it rules in favour of India, the Italian ambassador in Delhi should bring the marine back to India within a month.

Italy and India disagree over the jurisdiction of the case. Rome says the marines thought the fishermen were pirates and that the shooting occurred in international waters, so the case should be decided by international arbitration in an Italian court.

Delhi claims it has jurisdiction while Rome has complained that after four years the marines still have not been formally charged with any crime. Girone is also barred from altering evidence or contacting witnesses. He has been asked to surrender his passport when he arrives back in Italy. Rome has expressed “satisfaction” and promised to fulfil all the conditions set by the court.

Latorre returned to Italy after suffering a stroke two years ago while Girone has been under detention at the Italian embassy in New Delhi for four years.

Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “An accused who committed the crime here must be tried here.

“[Delhi] has been up to foul play in the Italian marines’ case from the beginning,” Vijayan told broadcaster NDTV.

The Italian foreign ministry said in a statement that the government “renews its commitment to comply with the terms and conditions established by the Supreme Court of India”.

The Indian concession was “an important result that recognises the effort made by the Italian government in resorting to an international arbitration to uphold the reasons of the two Italian marines. Italy will show the same commitment during the next phases of the arbitration proceeding”, it said.

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