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Bonino hails Ashton's help on India marines terror charge

'Encourages us to continue battle' says FM

15 February, 14:32
Bonino hails Ashton's help on India marines terror charge (ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Saturday hailed European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton's vow to work against India filing terrorism charges against two Italian anti-piracy marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen two years ago.

"I much appreciated the statements of Kathy Ashton, whom I thank, in support of the profound conviction that our two Marine Fusiliers must not be tried on the basis of India's anti-terrorism law," Bonino said. She said Ashton's promise to try to enlist the backing of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "encourages us to continue our battle".

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused of shooting Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates, are due to appear in court on February 25.

Under the anti-terrorism law, they could face up to 10 years in jail, Indian prosecutors have said.

According to reports in the Indian media, New Delhi is rethinking the application of the law and may now try the marines according to India's normal code of justice.

An Italian government task force said Friday it was considering taking the case to international arbitration.

It said pressing terror charges could endanger the global fight against piracy.

The EU and NATO have also said this.