New Delhi/Rome, March 7 (IANS) More than a week after he visited India, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Wednesday summoned India’s ambassador in Rome to condemn the imprisonment of two Italian marines accused of shooting two Indian fishermen, with New Delhi maintaining that they will be tried according to Indian law.
Terzi conveyed to India’s ambssador Debabrata Saha that the imprisonment of the two soldiers in a prison in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, ordered by a judge on Monday was ‘unacceptable,’ the Italian foreign ministry spokesman said.
Amid growing outrage in Italy over the arrests, Terzi stressed that the preferential treatment afforded to Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are currently being housed in a separate structure within the prison, was ‘not satisfactory.’
Two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, were mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the security crew of cargo vessel Enrica Lexie on February 15. The two Italian Marines were subseuqently arrested for the shooting.
Terzi had visited India Feb 28 and discussed the incident with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, but the two sides failed to resolve their differences, with Italy stressing that the incident should be tried according to international law.
In New Delhi, official sources said that Italy reiterated its view to the Indian envoy that Indian courts did not have jurisdiction to try the Italian Marines and stressed that they were entitled to immunity as they were fulfilling a ‘sovereign act’ of protecting the ship against suspected pirates.
The sources in New Delhi said that India maintained that since the case was in an Indian court, it was for the court to decide.
The sources added that vessel protection detachments, a term for military soldiers guarding the vessels, do not enjoy sanctity under global law.
The sources close to the developments also ruled out any discussion with the Indian government on any out-of-the-court settlement.