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EU speaks out against death penalty for Italian marines

'Will do everything in power to resolve issue with India'

13 January, 18:13
EU speaks out against death penalty for Italian marines (ANSA) - Brussels, January 13 - The president of the EU commission on Monday spoke out against the possibility of the death penalty being applied to two Italian marines on trial in India for allegedly killing two fishermen there. "We are all against the death penalty," said Josè Manuel Barroso in a meeting with Vice-President of the European Commission (EC) Antonio Tajani. Later, Tajani guaranteed that Brussels will do everything in its power to arrive at a positive solution in the case. On Friday Indian newspaper The Hindustan Times reported that India's anti-terrorist National Investigation Agency (NIA) was pressing to apply a severe 2002 law designed to fight terrorism in international waters against Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone.

Under the law, capital punishment is a possible punishment.

The pair are accused of killing Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki on February 15, 2012, when the marines allegedly mistook them for pirates and opened fire on the Indians' fishing trawler from the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie.

The shooting occurred just off the coast of Kerala in southern India, near traditional Indian fishing grounds in the Laccadive Sea.

The Italian government said India would face "counter-measures" if the severe law were applied after New Delhi had repeatedly guaranteed the Italians would not face death.