HC order on Marines’ Christmas visit plea today

Prosecution contends that if the two are allowed to go home, they will never return

Updated - November 16, 2021 11:03 pm IST

Published - December 20, 2012 02:12 am IST - KOCHI

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday reserved its order for December 20 on a petition filed by the two Italian Marines, accused in the case relating to the killing of two fishermen off Kerala coast, seeking permission to go home for Christmas.

Earlier Justice P. Bhavadasan heard arguments by P. Vijayabhanu, senior counsel for the Marines, and T. Asaf Ali, Director General of Prosecution (DGP) on the petition.

The DGP, while reiterating the State government’s stand against the petitioners’ plea, contended that the credentials of the Italian government were suspect. The State government could not accept the undertaking given by Italian ambassador Giacomo Stanfelice that the two Marines would return after celebrating Christmas.

In fact, he argued that the conduct of Italy was suspicious right from the registration of the crime. The government instead of conducting a preliminary inquiry had rushed to court seeking to quash the charges against the Marines. The Italian officials had not been impartial and taken the side of the accused right from the start. Their words, therefore, could not be believed. The undertakings given by both the ambassador and the Consul General were devoid of any sanctity.

Mr. Ali also cited the French espionage case in which the court had, in 1998, allowed the accused to go back to their country but they never returned. This, despite the specific undertaking given by the French government through its ambassador. Despite its best efforts, the Central Bureau of Investigation had not so far been able to get them extradited.

Vanchiyoor Parameswaran Nair, Assistant Solicitor General of India, appearing on behalf of the Centre told the court that the undertakings be given due consideration only in accordance with the law.

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