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Protest in Italy against its sailors’ trial in India

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Rome, Jan 14 :

Italy’s conservative party held a protest at the Italian parliament here Monday night to call for the repatriation of the two Italian sailors facing trial in India for murder.

The protest was led by Fratelli D’Italia Party president Ignazio La Russa and Rome’s former mayor Gianni Alemanno. Italy’s former foreign minister Giulio Terzi who resigned in March 2013 after the sailors were returned to India for trial also participated in the protest.

Italian marines ( pic courtesy : ndtv.com)
Italian marines ( pic courtesy : ndtv.com)

Alemanno said Foreign Minister Emma Bonino should resign if she failed to bring the sailors back home and Rome should sever diplomatic and trade ties with India.

“This blow to Italy is truly unacceptable…Italy must break off diplomatic and commercial relations,” he said.

Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were detained in India after allegedly shooting two fishermen while guarding an Italian oil tanker near Kerala in February 2012.

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

Italy said the incident occurred in international waters and the sailors should be tried at home while India claimed its jurisdiction, saying the killings occurred in its territorial waters.

Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta warned last Friday that the government would “take all necessary action” to ensure the sailors were spared trial under anti-piracy legislation that carried the death penalty.

Letta Friday held a meeting with Bonino after it was reported that the marines could be sentenced to death if found guilty under Indian law.

The case sparked off a major diplomatic row in 2013 when Italy refused to return Girone and Latorre to India to face trial after New Delhi allowed them to go home to vote in the national elections.

(IANS/AKI)