Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Marines won't face India death penalty

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Rome, April 29 - Two Italian marines accused of
killing two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates
will not face the death penalty, Foreign Minister Salman
Khurshid said Monday.
"They are not facing that possibility," he said.
He added that Indian law recognizes a mitigating factor
that offers hope that the pair may not be held criminally
accountable.
Kurshid spoke of "a crucial mitigating factor, that
of good faith".
"If someone acts in good faith, there is no criminal
culpability," he said.
There have been conflicting reports on the penalties faced
by the men, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, since
they were returned to India after coming back home to vote amid
an escalating diplomatic row over Italy's initial refusal to
hand them back.
On April 22 India's supreme court handed the issue of their
coming trial to the government.
New Delhi decided to continue letting India's
anti-terrorism police lead a fresh probe.
Latorre and Girone will be investigated by the
anti-terrorism National Investigation Agency (NIA), and not the
criminal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
This was initially taken as suggesting the marines face a
possible death sentence if convicted.
On April 16 Italy presented an affidavit challenging a
lower-court decision to assign the case to the NIA, which placed
the investigation under a severe 2002 law designed to fight
terrorism in international waters.
The 2002 anti-terrorism law calls for capital punishment in
the case of conviction for homicide.
Latorre and Girone are in India on charges of shooting and
killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki
after allegedly mistaking them for pirates while guarding a
merchant ship off the Kerala coast in February 2012.
After a drawn-out diplomatic row, Italy agreed to hand the
men back to Indian authorities last month despite contesting
India's right to jurisdiction, given the incident took place in
international waters.
India briefly stopped the Italian ambassador leaving the
country as the row escalated before Italy embarrassingly climbed
down on a refusal to honour a pledge to send the men back after
a trip home to vote in the February general election.
They had previously returned, and Italy won praise for
keeping its promise, after a Christmas break.
Newly appointed Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, who replaced
Giulio Terzi who resigned in a government flap over the case,
said she was certain an agreement would be found because of
India's great legal tradition and respect for human rights.
"India is a great country, and one of rights. Our
countries need to listen to each other," she said.

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