Italian President speaks to marines

Kochi, Dec 20: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Thursday, Dec 20 spoke to two marines from his country facing a criminal trial here on charges of killing two Indian fishermen, who were permitted by the Kerala High Court to go home to celebrate Christmas, subject to clearance from the Centre.

The Italian President spoke to Massimiliano Latorre and Silvatore Girone through video conferencing at around 9 PM, sources said. The marines told the President that they hoped to meet him directly in Rome to exchange greetings for Christmas, the sources said.

"The President said Italy and its people had been keenly watching the developments of the situation regarding the two marines," Maurizio Salvi, South Asian Bureau head of Ansa Italian news agency who was present during the video conferencing told PTI.

The Italian president also greeted all the military personnel who are part of the peace keeping force abroad. The marines along with the Italian Ambassador and Consul General will be leaving for the trial court in Kollam to submit the necessary documents. If they are able to complete all the formalities by 4 PM tomorrow, they could leave by tomorrow itself.

Imposing stringent conditions, the High Court had earlier in the day allowed them to go home for two weeks and asked them to give a bank guarantee of Rs 6 crore. It said they can leave India and remain in Italy for two weeks from the date of their departure and should return to India before 3 PM on Jan 10, 2013. The two marines were arrested from Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' on Feb 19 for allegedly shooting down two Indian fishermen off Alapuzha coast on Feb 15.


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