Italy recalls ambassador to India over fishermen killing

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Accused Italian marines
New Delhi/Rome, May 18: Italy recalled its ambassador to India after a charge sheet was filed against two Italian marines in the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast three months back. Official sources in New Delhi said that Italian envoy Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte has been called back by his government for "consultations".

The decision came on a day when Kerala police filed a charge sheet accusing the two Italians -- Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone -- of murder before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Kollam (Kerala). The marines on board the Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie' had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen -- Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Bi -- on Feb 15, apparently mistaking them for pirates.

In Rome, the Italian Foreign Ministry in a statement said: "In the light of the developments in the situation in Kerala and the charges against the two Italian servicemen, Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, the Italian ambassador to new Delhi, Giacomo Sanfelice has been recalled to Rome for consultations with the Government".

Italy insists that since the incident occurred in international waters, the marines should be tried in Italian courts rather than Indian courts. Sources stressed that to be more engaged is always helpful than withdrawing the diplomat from New Delhi. Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura, currently in India, met the marines yesterday, expressed concern over the lengthy trial in India. He described the killing of the fishermen as "accidental" and insisted that Indian courts did not have jurisdiction over the incident.

PTI

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