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Italian marines 'innocent' but sorry about fishers' deaths

'We don't feel responsible' says Girone in New Delhi

06 February, 10:37
Italian marines 'innocent' but sorry about fishers' deaths (ANSA) - New Delhi, February 6 - Two Italian marines who could face the death penalty in India over accusations they killed two Indian fishermen while on an anti-piracy mission in 2012 are sorry about the deaths, but not guilty of murder, one of them said Thursday.

"We are sorry about the loss of human lives, but in no way do we feel responsible," said Salvatore Girone, who along with Massimiliano Latorre is accused of killing the fishermen after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012. "We feel sorrow on a human level, but we are innocent," he told journalists in New Delhi.

The pair said their sorrow was compounded by the fact that the fishermen were seamen like themselves.

"We both grew up in two cities on the sea and we are fishermen ourselves," they said.

"Like them, we are seamen". The pair could face the death penalty if the Indian authorities decide to prosecute them under the terms of an anti-terrorism, anti-piracy law.

"This allegation pains us not just as servicemen, but also as parents and as human beings," said Latorre.

"As a professional Italian serviceman who fights piracy, I am very upset by this".