SC agrees to hear Italian marine’s plea to go home

  • HT Correspondent, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 23, 2016 16:55 IST
Salvatore Girone (centre L) and Latorre Massimiliano (3rd R), members of the navy security team. (Reuters)

The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear the plea of an Italian sailor, accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, for easier bail conditions that will allow him to go home.

Early this month, the UN’s permanent court of arbitration in The Hague ruled that Salvatore Girone, who is out on bail and lives in the Italian embassy in Delhi, be allowed to return to his country till the dispute is resolved.

Massimiliano Latorre, the other accused in the case that strained ties between the two countries, went back to Italy after a stroke in 2014. The court recently allowed him to extend his stay to September 30.

On Monday, a vacation bench comprising justice PC Pant and justice DY Chandrachud agreed to hear Girone’s plea that seeks modification of a Kerala high court order granting him bail.

The marine said he be allowed to go back to Italy till the UN panel decided on the issue of jurisdiction. Italy and India have been making contrary claims over the right to prosecute the marines.

Italy claims the deadly shooting on February 15, 2012 took place in international waters, so the sailors should be tried at home. India says the fishermen were killed in its waters.

The arbitration proceedings would be completed by December 2018, the Centre had earlier told the court, which has stayed all proceedings in the case including the marines’ trial.

While allowing a joint request by India and Italy, the court had said the proceedings would remain suspended till the jurisdictional issue was settled.

The marines say they mistook the fishermen for pirates and opened fire.

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