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Two Italian Navy guards placed in 3 days police custody in Kerala

Kollam (Kerala) , Mon, 20 Feb 2012 ANI

Kollam (Kerala), Feb.20 (ANI): A Kollam First Class Magistrate on Monday placed two Italian naval guards in police custody for three days on charges of murdering two Indian fishermen.

 

Rejecting the Italian Government's plea for diplomatic immunity and that the two naval personnel be tried back in Italy for their alleged crime, First Class Magistrate K.P.John said that arrested accused should and would be tried according to Indian law for the killing of Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45). He also sentenced them to 14 days judicial custody.

 

The two fishermen were killed on February 15 off the Kollam coast near Kerala when armed guards of the ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a vessel belonging to pirates.

 

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi admitted on Monday that legal differences existed with India on how to proceed in the case, and added that four days of diplomatic negotiations had failed to yield the desired result.

 

Italy maintains that the incident happened outside Indian waters, and thus, local laws don't apply.

 

A team from Italy will be arriving shortly in New Delhi. It will meet Ministry of External Affairs officials before heading for Kochi for legal consultations in connection with the case.

 

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has made it clear that the captain and crew of the Italian ship will have to surrender and cooperate in the investigation of the case.

 

Krishna, according to a statement by the External Affairs Ministry, said the loss of lives could have been avoided had the naval personnel onboard "Enrica Lexie" been careful and exercised restraint.

 

He told his Italian counterpart Terzi that "our information clearly indicated that the Indian fishermen were not carrying any arms or ammunition on board their vessel. Indian fishing vessels do not carry these on board but only fishing nets and the fish they catch".

 

Krishna also told Terzi of his telephonic conversation with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who conveyed "the strong public opinion and agitation in Kerala" at the loss of the innocent lives and the need for an urgent resolution of this issue. (ANI)

 


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