Delhi has also informed Rome that the duo will not face death penalty
As Mario Monti’s caretaker government on Thursday reversed a March 11 decision not to send the two marines accused of killing two fishermen off Kerala last year, India has assured Italy that the two will not be arrested if they return within the time frame set by the Supreme Court and they will not face the death sentence.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who earlier warned Italy of “consequences,” has welcomed Rome’s decision, saying the “integrity and dignity of the Indian judicial process has been upheld.”
In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Italy had sought “clarifications” on the death penalty and other issues, which were a matter of “concern” to it. The government was informed through “a diplomatic approach” that Italy would be willing to send the marines back in keeping with its promise.
“It [Italy] sought from India clarifications regarding the conditions applicable to the marines on their return and the provisions regarding the death penalty that could be applicable in this case… Notwithstanding the pending proceedings, the government has informed the Italian government that the two marines will not be liable to arrest if they return within the time frame laid down by the Supreme Court…,” he said.
Allaying Italy’s apprehensions, Mr. Khurshid said that “according to well-settled Indian jurisprudence,” this case would not fall under the category of the rarest of rare cases that attract the death penalty.”
The Minister said he was glad that the matter was being “brought to a satisfactory conclusion,” and the trial would now proceed as per the Supreme Court’s directives in its January 18, 2013 order.
On January 22, the court allowed an application from Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone and permitted them to go Italy for four weeks under the supervision of the Italian government, directing them to return by Friday.
Mr. Khurshid said the Supreme Court had ruled that India had the jurisdiction to try the marines, drafted for security on board an oil tanker, and the marines shall “once again be bound by the conditions contained in the [January 18] order.”
No deal with Italy
There was no deal with Italy on the return of two marines to stand trial in India for killing two Indian fishermen, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday.
“I want to clarify that there was no deal with Italy... we clarified the nature of incident and it was not a case for death sentence,” Mr. Khurshid told journalists in an interaction at the Indian Women Press Corps.
“We have not given away anything and are happy that the whole issue has come to an end,” he added.