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Italy won't 'change course' on marines in India

New Delhi 'ready to drop death penalty in Italians' case'

03 February, 15:13
Italy won't 'change course' on marines in India (ANSA) - Rome, February 3 - Italy has no intention of changing tack in its effort to protect the rights of two Italian marines facing trial in India in the shooting deaths two years ago of two fishermen, the country's special envoy on the case said Monday.

Staffan De Mistura also told ANSA that he would not comment on recent reports from unnamed sources that the government in new Delhi has decided not to use an anti-piracy law that features the death penalty as possible punishment to prosecute the two Italian marines.

"I do not usually react to reports of the press, positive or negative," said De Mistura.

"Anyway, this does not make us change course," added the envoy, who said Italian lawyers have counted 25 judicial postponements in the case of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone. Earlier Monday, an Indian court postponed for another week a long-awaited ruling on how authorities should proceed against the marines, prompting Italy to request the marines be sent home pending an outcome in the case.

The case has damaged relations between Italy and India, and between India and the European Union, which has threatened economic consequences against it if the death penalty is not removed from the table.