The two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while on anti-piracy duty will return to India on Friday, the Italian government said in a statement, reversing a previous decision not to send them back to face trial after a home visit.
“The Italian government requested and received written assurances from the Indian authorities regarding the treatment of the marines and the protection of their fundamental rights,” the government said in a statement.
The Italian Foreign Ministry sparked fury in India earlier in March when they said the marines would not return to India after they were granted a home visit to allow them to vote in last month’s election. India’s Supreme Court subsequently ordered the Italian envoy not to leave the country, escalating a stand-off between the two countries. Yesterday the Marines had been questioned by the Italian military prosecutor.
Prime Minister Mario Monti, together with the Minister of Defense Giampaolo Di Paola, and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Steffan de Mistura, met with the Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to value together the Italian position and the results of the negotiations between Italian and Indian authorities.
On the basis of the decisions made by CISR (Interministerial Committee for the Security of the Republic) the Italian Government obtained a written assurance from Indian authorities about the treatment that Marines will receive, and about their fundamental rights. And thus, also in their interest, the Marines – who agreed with the decision – will respect the committment to be back in India by March 22nd.
Silence and grievance at Latorre’s home – “We can’t talk and we won’t talk. It’s a too big thing“, they said in a phone call. before hanging up. The same reaction came from Girone’s family.
The Marines will stay at Italian Embassy in Delhi and will have freedom of movement. They will fly to India with Mr. De Mistura.
De Mistura to Tgcom24: “The Italian word is sacred” – “The pledge made by an Italian is sacred. We suspended their return to India while waiting for the Indian guarantees“, Mr. De Mistura said.
President Napolitano to Latorre: “I appreciate your sense of responsibility” – Italian Head of State expressed his appreciation for the way the two Marines accepted the Government’s decision.
India: “It’s a good thing for both countries”, said Indian foreign affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
- Italian marines questioned by the Italian prosecutor (theitalianist.com)
- An Italian job (thehindu.com)
- The Machiavellian knot between Italy and India (theitalianist.com)