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Updated: March 22, 2013 19:55 IST

India secures marines’ return with no-arrest promise

Vinay Kumar
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External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said that diplomacy is at work resulting in Italy’s decision to send back two marines charged in the fishermen killing case. File photo
AP External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said that diplomacy is at work resulting in Italy’s decision to send back two marines charged in the fishermen killing case. File photo

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.”

IANS adds:

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.

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It is reported: 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.”

If that report is true then what does Mr Khurshid mean by “We have not given away anything"? Furthermore, is Mr Khurshid competent to interpret the law in the above manner and give the assurance to Italy? Doesn't his action amount to Contempt of Court.

Shouldn't the Chief Judge of the SC cite Mr Kurshid and all others involved in this matter for Contempt of Court?

from:  R Menon
Posted on: Mar 23, 2013 at 21:38 IST

One can understand the assurance that these Italian marines would not be awarded death penalty but quite another to assure Italy that they will not be arrested. Are they then our sons-in-law? Is this the way UPA's grand foreign policy operates? Kurshid owes an explanation to the people.

from:  s subramanyan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2013 at 07:55 IST

Italy's decision to send back marines is the success of Indian judicial system rather than the diplomacy of India because it is the stong stand of Supreme Court that compelled Italy to yeiled to India's direction to send back the matrines.

from:  Shamsudheen Vallapuzha
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 15:43 IST

While Indian political parties are vying each other for the credit for the Italian decision to return the marines, the government of India’s written commitment that ‘it would honour the human rights of the accused’ and ‘the marines would under no circumstances be sentenced to death’ looks shameful and illegal in addition to weaknesses in our diplomacy. When the government says that human rights of the Italians in the present case would be safe-guarded, it sounds like some previous history of human rights violations by India. This is undemocratic too. The legality of the government announcing punishment in advance, while the case is still in the preliminary stages in courts of law, needs to be perused. In short, the Indian situation is not at all enviable.

from:  P.R.V.Raja
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 15:18 IST

Always wonder why all such fine diplomacy never works whenever the question of co-operation from Swiss, or any other country is sought for cases like Bofors, blackmoney in swiss banks, getting Dawood and other criminals extradited from Dubai etc?

All these so called great statesman, diplomat never talk about them but this marine case is projected to the public as if government has a big thing. This too only after a promise of no death sentence to the Marines, is given to the Italian government. I bet they will not even be given an appropriate punishment, for the crime. It wouldn't be a surprise that soon after the case is forgotten, that the marines would be released and no one come to know.

No bad feeling for marines, but law should be equally applied on all people staying in a country, irrespective of status, position, money, backup etc.

Indians are far far away from that dream to be true.

from:  shelendra
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 15:09 IST

Marines' coming back does not absolve SC/GOI of granting them gratuitous X-mas holiday and one month voting leave. This gives the impression that India is not serious about the prosecution and indirectly discriminates its own citizen vis-a-vis foreign nationals.

from:  sayaji pawar
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 13:29 IST

We are a strong nation and diplomacy must be to protect our
citizens. Take strong actions against any such errant nations.
Our country not depnded on them, but they are from us. Our nation
is capable of meeting any situation and was proved by developing
Cryogenic Engine against sanctions imposed by USA.

from:  yuvraj
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 13:24 IST

IItaly was assured of the fundemental rights of marines.What does it mean.?They will be let off later like Quattorchi was let off?.

from:  nandurisomaya
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 13:03 IST

It is the success of Indian judiciary rather than diplomacy because it is the strong stand of the Supreme Court towards Italy's envoy that leads Italy to yeiled to India's direction to send back the marines

from:  Shamsudheen Vallapuzha
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 12:55 IST

It is a victory for the Indian diplomacy. Italian government must be congratulated for falling in line with the rule of law of India.

from:  JAYARAMAN V S
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 11:37 IST

A feather in the cap for the government as well as the strong stand taken by the SC. The marines are soldiers and as such the shooting cannot be equated with murder. Also the facts if the firing really took place inside India's territorial waters will all come into play here.

from:  Manoj
Posted on: Mar 22, 2013 at 11:19 IST
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Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre (left) and Salvatore Girone being produced at a court in Kollam. File photo.

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