News / Asia

Italian Marines Charged With Murder Return to India

Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre leave the police commissioner office in the southern Indian city of Kochi, January 18, 2013. Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre leave the police commissioner office in the southern Indian city of Kochi, January 18, 2013.
x
Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre leave the police commissioner office in the southern Indian city of Kochi, January 18, 2013.
Salvatore Girone (R) and Massimiliano Latorre leave the police commissioner office in the southern Indian city of Kochi, January 18, 2013.
Aru Pande
— 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."

India’s Supreme Court in January allowed the Italian Marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, to go home for four weeks in order to vote in their country’s elections.

Then, last week, Italy said the marines would not return to India. In response, the South Asian country barred Italy’s ambassador from leaving India - a move criticized by Italy and the European Union as a violation of international diplomatic immunity laws.

Late Thursday, the Italian government agreed to send the marines back to India after receiving assurances on their treatment and protection of their fundamental rights.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid welcomed the decision.

"We have a valuable relationship with Italy. And that certain incident and the doubts that were created did not derail our relationship," said Khurshid. "[The fact that] things are back on track and normal is a matter of satisfaction."

Foreign Minister Khurshid told India’s parliament Friday that the Italian government had been informed that the death penalty would not be applicable in the case.

The Italian marines were guarding an Italian vessel in February of 2012 when they allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen after mistaking them for pirates in waters off the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Italy maintains the incident took place in international waters and wanted the trial to take place in the marines’ native country. India says the fishermen were killed in waters under its jurisdiction.

Members of India’s ruling Congress Party, which is led by the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, on Friday said the marines’ return is an example of successful diplomacy.

Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram hit back at opposition members who had criticized the government as unable to stand up to Italy.

"Ultimately it’s the government’s diplomacy that has succeeded, isn’t it? People know that it is the government which takes diplomatic efforts," said Chidambaram.

The Italian marines are now due to return to India Friday to face murder charges in an Indian court - charges they deny. The men will remain at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid