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Indian official says marines must stay in India

'Do not release even if the UN intervenes' writes Chandy

21 March, 17:05
Indian official says marines must stay in India (ANSA) - New Delhi, March 21 - A senior official in the Indian state of Kerala urged the Indian government to not release two Italian anti-piracy marines in a 2012 case involving the killing of two Indian fishermen. According to local media reports Friday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to not release the marines "even if the United Nations intervenes". Kerala is the southern Indian costal state where the killings occured.

UN General Assembly President John Ashe was set to meet with Singh on Friday, and some observers suggested they would discuss a possible release after an appeal earlier this week from Italy's Minister of Interior Angelino Alfano. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of allegedly killing fishermen Valentine (aka Gelastine) and Ajesh Binki after reputedly 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.

The two marines have been living and working at the Italian embassy in India pending charges in the case.

In the letter, Chandy asked Singh to "not give into the pressure of Italy", warning that the release of Latorre and Girone "could weaken the credibility of the judicial system of the country".