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Terrorist charges for Italian marines 'shameful', Tajani

'Not recognizing their role would have serious repercussions'

12 February, 16:34
Terrorist charges for Italian marines 'shameful', Tajani (see previous) (ANSA) - Brussels, February 12 - European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani on Wednesday called Indian authorities' bid to press terrorism charges against two Italian anti-piracy marines accused of murdering two Indian fishermen "shameful".

Speaking at a conference in Lisbon, Tajani said that the marines "were in the Indian Ocean to defend our trade rights. "Not recognizing their role as defenders of the law would have serious consequences not only in Italy, but in all countries involved in the struggle against piracy". Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are facing trial for allegedly killing Ajesh Binki and Valentine alias Gelastine after mistaking them for pirates.

India has invoked the international SUA Act against piracy and terrorism for the marines who opened fire on an Indian fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.

Indian prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty but a maximum of 10 years.

Italy says the incident took place in international waters and has sought to have the case heard in Italy.

It appealed to the United Nations to uphold the marines' rights but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday it was a bilateral issue.