Italian marines leave for home after Christmas reprieve

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Italian marines leave for home
Kochi, Dec 22: Two Italian marines, arrested ten months back for shooting dead two Indian fishermen, today flew back home for Christmas in a chartered flight, but will have to return within two weeks as per the court order.

The marines boarded the plane at 5:00 am, the Kochi airport authorities said. The marines -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- secured their passports from Kollam Additional District Sessions court yesterday after submitting an unconditional joint undertaking to return to the state by Jan 10 and appear before the trial court in Kollam on Jan 15.

The Italians also executed Rs 6 crore bank guarantee as directed by the Kerala High Court on Thursday allowing them to leave for two weeks, following which they sent necessary clearances. The marines, were arrested on Feb 19 after they shot and killed two Indian fishermen -- Ajesh Binki (25) and Jelestine (45)-- off Alapuzha coast on Feb 15 from the merchant vessel 'Enrica Lexie.'

Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paolo was here last weekend to meet the marines. Italian President had also spoken to the marines through video conferencing two days ago. The Congress-led UDF government yesterday came under attack from Marxist veteran VS Achuthanandan for not challenging the court order.

Kerala Government had on Dec 18 opposed the plea by the marines to facilitate their visit to Italy, saying it was a ruse to "smuggle them out" and would "torpedo" the ongoing trial.


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