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India to seek terrorism charge against Italian marines

Italy may appeal to United Nations, says foreign minister

10 February, 10:42
India to seek terrorism charge against Italian marines (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, February 10 - Prosecutors in India on Monday told the supreme court they intended to charge two Italian marines with an anti-terrorism law for murder, but stressed they would not seek the death penalty it carries.

The supreme court, which was expected to rule on the case Monday, postponed a decision for another week in a long string of delays. In the lighter application of the charge, marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone would face up to 10 years in prison if convicted for the murder of two Indian fishermen 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 in February 2012.

Italy may appeal to the United Nations if the supreme court approves the charge. "These are eventual roads, everything's on the table," said Foreign Minister Emma Bonino. "And I think it might not be wise to share all the cards that we have". The office of Italian Premier Enrico Letta came down hard against the Indian prosecutors' intentions. "(The charge sought) is absolutely overblown and incomprehensible. It equates the incident to an act of terrorism. Italy is not a terrorist State," said a statement.