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Italian Marines Charged With Murder Return to India

Two Italian marines have returned to India to face charges they murdered two Indian fishermen that they had mistaken for pirates.

The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, arrived at a New Delhi airport Friday, after Italy reversed its decision not to send them back.

Officials say Italy's government backed down on Thursday after securing a promise from New Delhi the two men would not face the death penalty.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised Italy's decision, saying it is consistent with the "dignity of the Indian judicial process."

Italy's announcement on March 11 that the marines would not return to India sparked anger among Indian officials. India's Supreme Court went so far as to bar Italy's ambassador, Daniele Mancici, from leaving the country.

Latorre and Girone were part of a military security team on board a cargo ship when they shot and killed the two Indian fishermen.

Italy said the shooting occurred in international waters and that Rome should have jurisdiction in the case. Indian authorities said the ship was in Indian waters off the southern state of Kerala.



Last month, India granted Mancici's request that the marines be allowed to return to Italy to vote in that country's national elections, based on his written assurance they would return to India.

Italy's government later announced the marines would not be coming back. India's Supreme Court then ruled that Mancici had violated his pledge and barred him from leaving the country. The court issued an alert to airports with instructions that "appropriate steps" be taken to restrain him.
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