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International arbitration may be next for marines, FM says

Anti-piracy duo held in India without charges for two years

18 March, 15:09
International arbitration may be next for marines, FM says (ANSA) - Rome, March 18 - Italy's foreign minister on Tuesday said "international arbitration could be the next step" in the country's efforts to bring home two anti-piracy marines held in India for two years without charges for allegedly killing two fishermen. "We'll discuss it with them and their lawyers," Federica Mogherini told a joint session of the parliamentary foreign-affairs committees. Lately Italy has been trying to rally international support among the EU, the US, NATO and the UN to bring home Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who have been held in New Delhi since February 2012, after they allegedly opened fire on a fishing trawler they mistook for a pirate vessel. The ongoing case has seriously strained Indian-Italian relations, especially before prosecutors ruled out the death penalty as a possible sentence earlier this year.

They now face up to 10 years in prison, prosecutors say. Italy argues that the case sets dangerous and wide-ranging precedents for any country involved in anti-piracy missions overseas. The incident occurred while the marines were guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of the southern Indian state of Kerala in February 2012. The pair have been living and working at the Italian embassy in India amid a long series of delays in the case.