Families, politicians recall 1,000 days of marines' plight

'They have never given up,' Latorre's partner says

(ANSA) - Rome, November 11 - The families of two Italian marines facing trial in India for allegedly murdering two fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in 2012 on Tuesday recalled the servicemen's plight 1,000 days after they were first detained.
    "A thousand days have gone by since the start of this complicated affair and each day that passes weights more heavily on our lives," wrote Vania Ardito, wife of Salvatore Girone who together with Massimiliano Latorre is still waiting to be formally charged by the Indian authorities in connection with the alleged crime, which Italy claims does not fall under India's jurisdiction.
    Girone is living at the Italian embassy in New Delhi pending a resolution to the case while Latorre is currently in Italy undergoing rehabilitative therapy after suffering a stroke-like attack in India in the summer. He is due to return to New Delhi at the end of the year. "Though they know they are victims of an injustice they have never given up," wrote Latorre's partner Paola Moschetti.
    "And for 1,000 days they have gritted their teeth pending the reinstatement of their freedom. Just like true Italians," she added. The women were echoed by politicians on the centre-right, who in a series of Twitter messages highlighted the "humiliation" for Italy represented by the case.
    "1000 days of injustice for the marines and of weakness for the image of Italy in the world. Government, have our country respected: bring them home," wrote Deborah Bergamini of the opposition party Forza Italia.
    Latorre and Girone are accused of killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after allegedly mistaking them for pirates and opening fire on their fishing trawler while guarding the privately owned Italian-flagged oil-tanker MT Enrica Lexie off the coast of Kerala on February 15, 2012.
    Rome has protested the many delays in the case, which has caused major diplomatic friction between the countries.
    It successfully fought to ensure New Delhi took the death penalty off the table and dropped the application of a severe anti-terrorism, anti-piracy law, which it said would have equated Italy with a terrorist state.
    However last month an Indian lawyer reportedly presented a petition to the Supreme Court of India to have the law reinstated. Rome argues the case is not in India's jurisdiction as the incident took place outside the country's territorial waters.
    It also says the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India, because they are servicemen who were working on an anti-piracy mission, and allowed to return home.


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