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Bonino 'profoundly frustrated' by India over marines row

Italy uses Davos to up calls against death penalty

23 January, 16:57
Bonino 'profoundly frustrated' by India over marines row

(ANSA) - Davos, January 23 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino expressed "profound frustration" on Thursday with the Indian government after meeting with ministers in Davos over the case of two Italian marines who possibly face the death penalty in New Delhi for allegedly killing two Indian sailors. Her comments were relayed in a foreign ministry statement after she met with Indian commerce and economy ministers at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The statement said she asked the pair to work to avoid applying a harsh anti-terrorism law carrying the death penalty in the case of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone. The pair are accused of killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. Italy has appealed to the Indian Supreme Court amid fears that India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) intends to prosecute the pair under the anti-terrorism law, despite previous reassurances from the Indian foreign ministry that the marines would not face capital punishment. Meeting with the commerce and economy ministers of India was seen as significant in light of recent economic threats from the European Union.

On Monday a vice-president of the European Commission threatened India with economic consequences if India did not rule out the death penalty.

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