Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
NEW DELHI

India repeats marines won't face death penalty

English
© ANSA

(By Christopher Livesay)

New Delhi, April 9 - India's interior minister on
Tuesday confirmed that the government would not seek the death
penalty for two Italian marines being tried there for murder.
Sushil Kumar Shinde cited section 34 C of India's 1962
Extradition Act, which allows the court to rule out the death
penalty as a possible sentence.
"The government has made an international commitment to
Italy not to seek the death penalty, and it will be honored,"
Shinde told the Economic Times, an English-language Indian
newspaper.
Italian anti-pirate marines Massimiliano Latorre and
Salvatore Girone are in India on charges of shooting and killing
fishermen Jelestine "Valentine" and Ajesh Binki after allegedly
mistaking them for pirates while guarding a mercantile ship off
the Kerala coast in February 2012.
After a drawn-out diplomatic row, Italy agreed to hand the
men over to Indian authorities last month despite contesting
India's right to jurisdiction, given the incident took place in
international waters.
While there have been signs of improvements in recent
weeks, relations between the two countries have frayed over the
past year, prompting Italy to request independent third-party
arbitration in the tangled affair.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon said in Rome
Tuesday that he hoped for a "harmonious and judicious"
resolution "with dialogue".
Ban said he discussed the "regrettable situation that
involves two UN nations with Italian President Giorgio
Napolitano this morning" and was due to discuss it again with
outgoing Premier and interim Foreign Minister Mario Monti.
Last month Monti stepped in to fill the shoes of Giulio
Terzi who resigned as foreign minister over the diplomatic
tug-of-war with India.
Terzi's decision came shortly after Italy climbed down
after earlier reneging on a pledge to send the marines back to
India following a four-week parole to vote in the February 24-25
general election.
The pair had previously returned from a Christmas break,
honouring Italy's pledge, solemnly filed by Ambassador Daniele
Mancini.
During the tug-of-war following the refusal to send the
pair back the second time, Indian airports were alerted not to
let Mancini out of the country.
That ban has since been lifted.
But while diplomatic pressures have eased, political ones
in Rome have been exacerbated.
In his resignation announcement before parliament, Terzi
complained that the government went against his wishes to
keep the marines in Italy.
Monti, who denied the charge, accused Terzi of trying to
curry favor with the center-right People of Freedom (PdL) party
of Silvio Berlusconi for his own future political ambitions.
The premier also told parliament that relations with key
trade allies in the developing world were on the line but denied
that economics was a factor in the decision-making process.
Monti said that Italy had faced "measures" from India and
fellow BRICS countries as a consequence for choosing not to
return the marines to face trial.
"We had word from Foreign Undersecretary Staffan De Mistura
that the possibility of measures being taken against Italy were
being considered," Monti said.
BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa, is an influential association of emerging national
economies.
"There were serious and objective risks that Italy would
find itself isolated in the international community," if it had
failed to ensure the pair returned to India, Monti said.
"It would have opened a crisis of serious proportions with
India".

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