Indian fishermen killed: Italy to go to High Court against arrests
Posted on: Tue February 21, 2012
Kochi: Italy has strongly criticised the arrest of two of its navy personnel, who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast last Wednesday. The marines have been sent to police custody till February 23. They will then be remanded to judicial custody for the next 11 days till March 5. The order was pronounced by a magistrate in Kollam district yesterday after the duo was produced before him.
The Italian authorities are expected to move the Kerala High Court later today seeking quashing of the FIR against the marines. (Top 10 developments: Read)
"As things stand, there are considerable differences of a judicial nature," Italy\'s Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has said.
"So far, I do not believe there has been the kind of collaboration between the states of India and Italy which could be hoped for and which could open a way out quickly," he added.
The ministry has also said the case should be handled by Italy "as the incident occurred in international waters on an Italian-flagged ship".
"The presence of armed guards on the ship was as per UN resolutions maritime piracy," it said.
Yesterday, even as the proceedings were on inside the magistrate\'s residence - since the court was closed due to a public holiday, locals stood outside, shouting slogans and demanding death penalty for the accused. The protests continued even as the marines were taken away by the cops.
Police had arrested Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone late on Sunday night after detailed interrogation in Kochi. The duo is part of the six-member security team of the oil tanker Merchant Vessel Enrica Lexie. A murder case has been registered against them.
But the arrests clearly don\'t seem to have put an end to the diplomatic stand-off between Indian and Italy that the incident had resulted in.
The stern statement by Italy comes just a day after what seemed like a diplomatic win of sorts for India after the Italians agreed to the surrender of their two marines.
Italy contends that the incident happened in international waters and hence, a case could not be made against its crew by Indian authorities. India, on its part, insists that the firing occurred in the contiguous zone that is well within its jurisdiction. The contiguous zone is a band of water extending from the outer edge of the territorial sea to up to 24 nautical miles or 44 kilometres from the baseline.
Ajesh Binki, 25, from Tamil Nadu and Gelastine, 45, from Kerala, were mistaken for pirates and shot dead by the crew of the Italian ship on Wednesday evening about 14 nautical miles off Alappuzha.