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Death penalty in India would be 'an attack on Italy'

Politician says international incident if marines face execution

27 January, 16:06
Death penalty in India would be 'an attack on Italy'

(See related) (ANSA) - New Delhi, January 27 - If two Italian marines on trial in India ultimately face the death penalty, it will be seen as "an attack on Italy", Fabrizio Cicchitto, chairman of the Lower House foreign affairs committee, said Monday.

He was part of a delegation of Italian politicians in India to support marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone who face accusations of murder in the shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen. Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki were shot after they were after allegedly mistaken for pirates by the Italians who were 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 a harsh anti-terrorism law that bears the death penalty, despite previous reassurances from the Indian foreign ministry that the marines would not face capital punishment.

The Indian government is expected to make a decision on the law by February 3.

It would create a major international incident if the harsh law is applied, said Cicchitto.

In fact, the European Union has threatened India with economic consequences if the death penalty is not taken off the table.

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