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Barroso warns India against death penalty on Italian marines

'Would impact entire European Union' says EC chief

29 January, 16:32
Barroso warns India against death penalty on Italian marines (ANSA) - Brussels, January 29 - European Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned Wednesday that the fate of two Italian marines who could face the death penalty in India for allegedly killing two fishermen would "have an impact on the whole EU". "The EU is against the death penalty in any situation," he added after meeting Italian Premier Enrico Letta.

Letta said that the support of the EU and other European States was "very important for a positive solution" to the case.

"We want the marines case to finish soon, as soon as possible," Letta said.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore 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 on an anti-piracy mission. Italy has appealed to the Indian Supreme Court amid fears that India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) intends to prosecute the pair under a harsh anti-terrorism law that bears the death penalty, despite previous reassurances from the Indian foreign ministry that the marines would not face capital punishment. Last week the European Union threatened economic consequences if India failed to pull the death penalty from the table.