India has ruled out death penalty for two Italian marines facing trial for murdering two Indian fishermen, Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said amid reports that the Indian investigators have sought capital punishment for the duo.

Citing a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ms. Bonino said the Indian government made it clear that the marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — would not face the death penalty over the killings.

“There was a formal statement [Thursday] by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin who answered an ANSA question and recalled that Foreign Minister Salman Kurshid ruled out the death penalty,” Ms. Bonino was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

During the briefing in New Delhi, Mr. Akbaruddin had said, ”...if you would like to know the government of India’s position on this, I think you should refer to the statement made on the floor of Parliament on 22nd March, 2013 by the External Affairs Minister.

“It explains clearly what is the government of India’s position. If your argument is that there may be some developments where x, y, z may have felt something at this stage, I can assure you the government of India intends to abide by those statements that were made on the floor of the House in Parliament...,” the spokesman added.

In the statement made in Parliament Mr. Khurshid had said that ”...according to well settled Indian jurisprudence, this case would not fall in the category of matters which attract the death penalty, that is to say the rarest of rare cases. Therefore, there need not be any apprehension.”

The remarks by the Italian Minister came in the backdrop of media reports in India which said investigators from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) asked the judge to punish the Marines on the basis of the ‘Sua Act’ which entails death penalty.


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