Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Monday spoke to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and sought a “rapid and positive solution” in the case of the two Italian marines being held in India for allegedly shooting to death two Indian fishermen in 2012.
“We hope for a rapid, positive solution,” Renzi told Modi during a telephonic conversation, Italian news agency ANSA quoted Renzi’s office as saying.
Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been held in India since allegedly shooting to death fishermen Valentine and Ajesh Binki during an anti-piracy mission in February 2012 off the Kerala coast, an incident that sparked diplomatic tensions between India and Italy.
The marines, deployed on the Italian-flagged oil tanker MT Enrica Lexie, said they mistook the fishermen for pirates. They are now staying in the Italian Embassy in New Delhi awaiting trial.
India has removed the possibility of a death penalty but insisted that the marines would still be prosecuted under the anti-piracy law. Now, they face up to 10 years in jail.
Rome wants the marines to be tried in Italy, claiming the incident took place in international waters. However, New Delhi says it has the right to try the Italians as the victims were Indians on board an Indian fishing boat.
Italy argues that the case sets dangerous and wide-ranging precedents for any country involved in anti-piracy missions overseas. Italy has said it may also seek international arbitration in the case.
Image: Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone.