Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Marines questioned as Rome probes into India case

English
© ANSA

Rome, March 20 - Rome prosecutors are moving
forward in their probe into two Italian marines who allegedly
shot two Indian fishermen on another vessel off the coast of
India one year ago.
The case, which has opened an international dispute between
Indian and Italy, brought Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore
Girone in for questioning Wednesday as prosecutors moved to have
a technical review of the computer and the camera aboard the
Enrica Lexie merchant ship from where the shooting took place.
Italy is refusing to hand the marines over to an Indian
court for a homicide trial after the pair was granted a
four-week travel permit to vote in Italian elections last month.
It was the second such good-faith permit. India gave a
similar waiver during the Christmas season, after which the pair
returned.
Both times the men had signed a form vowing to return for
trial.
After the announcement last week the men would remain in
Italy, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the Italian ambassador
there not to leave the country while officials voiced their
consternation and pledged to explore all diplomatic and legal
options to bring the marines back to trial.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Italy's
behavior "unacceptable" and said it "casts a shadow" over the
two countries' relations.
Italy has long argued that the marines, who allegedly
mistook fishermen Jelestine Valentine and Ajesh Binki for
pirates, should not be tried in India as the incident took place
in international waters.
Italy has also called for an international arbitrator to
assess the case.
In the meantime prosecutors here are moving ahead with
their own investigation.
The camera and computer aboard the ship where the incident
took place are expected to provide details of the case
previously unavailable to Italian authorities.
"The conversations between the captain and the marines, as
well as communications with Italian authorities, are recorded on
that computer," said Rome prosecutors in a statement Wednesday.
"As for the camera, images are recorded there of what was
believed to be a possible attack from pirates, as are the
reactions of the marines".
Prosecutors also quoted the sailors testimony in their
statement, which contradicts accusations from India.
The men said they "shot seven to eight rounds in the sea to
discourage the approach of a ship that was different from the
one showed by Indian authorities".
Rome prosecutors said the images from the camera may prove
what kind of ship was involved.
Even if the marines did kill the fishermen, high-ranking
Italian military have defended their actions as following proper
protocol in territory known for pirate attacks.
"Our officers did what they had to do to protect the
merchant ship," said Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, the supreme
commander of the Italian marines.
"A judge must decide whether what they did corresponds with
the law, but we're confident".

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