Two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates were moved on Friday from an Indian jail to an old reformatory where they await trail on charges of murder.
"It's an acknowledgment of their military status," said Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo. "They should not be considered common criminals."
The two marines, wearing spotless white uniforms, made the 200 kilometer (124 mile) trip on Friday from a jail in Trivandrum, in the south Indian state of Kerala, to the Borstal School in Kochi, where they remain in custody. Their initial request for bail was rejected, and the High Court in Kerala is scheduled to hear their appeal of that decision on Monday.
A court in Kerala also formally charged the men with murder on Friday, Cutillo said.
News that the police were seeking a murder charge further inflamed diplomatic relations between India and Italy, which has recalled its ambassador to Rome for consultations over the case.
Italy maintains that it should have jurisdiction over the men because they are active military members and the February shooting took place in international waters.
India argues that it has jurisdiction and should try the men because the fishermen were killed on an Indian boat.