SC to hear Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre's plea seeking extension of stay in Italy

The Supreme Court will hear a plea filed by Massimiliano Latorre, the Italian marine accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012, seeking an extension of his stay in Italy until July 2017. The other accused in the case, Salvatore Girone, is permanently back in Italy after being allowed by the apex court to return in September 2014. The court had considered his application and allowed him to return on "humanitarian grounds".

Salvatore Girone (left) and Massimiliano Latorre. AP file image

File image of Salvatore Girone (left) and Massimiliano Latorre. AP

In September last year, the Supreme Court had decided that Latorre be allowed to stay in Italy till the issue of his jurisdiction can be decided. Latorre had said he'd like to remain in Italy till an international arbitration tribunal decides which country has the legal right to try his case.

A report in The New Indian Express said that the case is presently pending in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to adjudicate on whether India or Italy has the jurisdiction to extradite the accused marines. Italy had approached the international tribunal in December 2015, asking it to prescribe that "India shall take such measures as are necessary to relax the bail conditions on Girone in order to enable him to return to Italy under the responsibility of the Italian authorities, pending the final determination of the Tribunal".

However, the Centre had also told the court that international arbitration matters in the case will take a long time, and it may be upto December 2018 before the proceedings are completed. "End of 2018 is when the award will come," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar had told the bench, saying that India had not agreed for the conclusion of proceedings in 2019.

Girone was allowed to go home by the Supreme Court in May 2016 by the apex court. His request to leave India was supported by the government on "humanitarian grounds".

He was, however, asked to file an affidavit "accepting and recognising that he remains and shall, even upon his departure from India, continue to remain under the authority of the Supreme Court of India".

There were four conditions imposed on him, which included reporting to a police station in Italy on the first Wednesday of every month, and the Italian authorities have to inform the Indian Embassy in Rome about it.

The second condition was that he will not tamper with any evidence, nor influence any witnesses in the case. The third condition was that Girone will give an undertaking that he will remain under the jurisdiction of Supreme Court, and lastly, if found violating any of the conditions, his bail will be cancelled, the court had said.

Latorre and Girone are facing a trial in India for allegedly killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February 2012. In their defence, Italy said that the marines were guarding an oil tanker and mistook the fishermen for pirates.

The complaint against the marines was lodged by Freddy, the owner of the fishing boat St Antony in which the two Indian fishermen were killed when the marines opened fire on them allegedly under the misconception that they were pirates.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Mar 06, 2017 11:34 AM

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