Italian marines are denied bail in India
An Indian court refused an application for bail for two Italian marines charged with the murder at sea of two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates, hours after Italy recalled its ambassador.
The court rejected the bail pleas yesterday on grounds the two men might try to escape, said a public prosecutor in the southern state of Kerala, where the men are detained.
A lawyer for the defence said they would appeal.
India says the case of marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone is a matter for the courts and cannot be influenced by diplomatic pressure. Italy wants the men tried at home and says the government should intervene. Shortly after the murder charges were formalised on Friday, Italy called back its ambassador to express “profound displeasure” with the Indian government’s handling of the case.
The sailors were stationed on a merchant ship passing the southern Indian coast and were tasked with protecting it from pirate attacks. They fired warning shots at the fishing boat on February 15, believing it to be a pirate vessel, they said. Investigators say the fishing boat crew were unarmed and the shots killed two fishermen.
Italy says the incident occurred in international waters and that jurisdiction over the marines should lie with Italy. In April, it paid $190,000 compensation to each victim’s family. In return, the families dropped their case.