The Italian newspapers were vociferous on their government’s decision to send back the two Italian marines to stand trial in India.
Reports appearing in several newspapers give an indication that a guarantee on no death penalty for the marines has been sought from India. Italy had abolished death penalty in 1947.
According to reports available online, the decision was taken in the morning on Thursday at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Security of the Republic which was chaired by Prime Minister Mario Monti and attended by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri, Justice Minister Paola Severino, Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola, Economy and Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli.
Soon afterwards Mr. Monti along with Mr. Di Paolo and Deputy Foreign Minister Stephan Di Mistura summoned the marines Massimilano Lattore and Salvatore Girone and talked to them for close to four hours, the news paper reports said.
According to the newspaper La Nazione, Indian officials were also involved in the discussions from the Delhi end but the report did not identify the Indian officials. The newspaper Il Mondo reported that as per a note issued from Palazzo Chigi, the official residence of the Italian Prime Minister, “the government has received written assurance from India on the treatment of the two marines when they arrive in India and also a guarantee on protection of their fundamental rights.”
The same newspaper also quoted Mr. De Mistura as saying that “New Delhi has assured that there will be no death penalty against the marines.” The newspaper La Gazetta Del Mezzogiorno quotes Mr. De Mistura ‘‘the word given by an Italian is sacred. We had suspended their return because we were waiting for a guarantee on certain conditions from New Delhi.’’
La Gazetta Del Mezzogiorno published from Bari, the native place of Girone, said that as he was leaving his house, loud screams of a woman could be heard from the house. He was accompanied by a good crowd of friends and relatives. He was in tears when he left his house. Lattore while visiting his house in Taranto on Thursday broke down, the newspaper reported, adding that police security was arranged at the house to control crowds.
The newspaper La Repubblica said Mayor of Bari Michele Emiliano launched a devastating attack on the government for the decision to send back the marines. “I now entrust our two heroes to the Indian institutions to protect them. I hope that the Republic of India is less clumsy than the Monti government.’’