Kollam court posts case for preliminary hearing on June 18

After 105 days in custody, the two Italian marines, arrested for allegedly gunning down two Indian fishermen off Kerala, were released on bail on Saturday as a court in Kollam posted their trial to June 18.

Massimilliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone walked out of the Borstal prison here around 9.30 p.m. after they fulfilled the stringent bail conditions of the Kerala High Court, prison authorities said. Though the jail authorities received a fax copy of the Kollam magistrate order, the two were released only after the formal release order was furnished.

Italian Consul General in Mumbai Giampalo Cuttillo and other officials were present as the marines were driven off to a hotel at the nearby Wellington Island.

The High Court granted them bail on May 30 on various conditions, including a bond of Rs. 1 crore each with two Indian solvent sureties for a like amount. It also ordered they stay within a 10 km radius of the Kochi Police Commissioner's office and appear before the Commissioner on all days between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and as and when required.

On Saturday morning, the two were taken from Kochi to Kollam District and Sessions Court and produced before the Sessions Judge P.D. Rajan, who posted the trial in the case to June 18.

The court directed the State government to provide a list of interpreters to translate proceedings into Italian for the accused before the next sitting. The marines, arrested from Italian merchant vessel ‘Enrica Lexie' on February 19 have been charged with the murder in the case that had sparked a diplomatic row between India and Italy which opposed their trial in India. — PTI

Italy hails bail

AFP reports from Rome:

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed “great satisfaction” on Saturday over the release on bail of the two marines, but called for their return to Italy.

“I express my own and the government's great satisfaction for the liberation, under bail conditions, of our marines. An important objective has been reached,” Mr. Monti said in a statement.

“But the final outcome, for which we have worked with determination since the start of our interactions with Indian authorities at every level, is the return of our marines to Italy,” he said.

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