Govt won't interfere in Italian marines trial

Notwithstanding Italy's unhappiness over the 'unacceptable nature of the judicial developments' involving two of its marines, India on Tuesday made it clear that it will not 'interfere' in the trial of two Italians facing murder charges in Kerala.

'The judicial process is on and the Government of India is never known to interfere in that process,' External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said when asked about framing of murder charges and denial of bail to two Italian marines - Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone - which has escalated the diplomatic row between Rome and New Delhi.

Krishna's remarks came nearly a week after Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to express concern over detention of two of his country's sailors in Kerala for allegedly killing two fishermen.

The External Affairs Minister also denied there was any pressure from Italy on the issue. 'Absolutely not', said Krishna when asked if there was any pressure from Italy.

The marines issue has sparked a series of reaction resulting in the recalling of the Italian Ambassador to India for consultations and summoning of Indian Ambassador Debabrata Saha by the Foreign Ministry in Rome.

The Italian government 'firmly' impressed upon 'the unacceptable nature of the judicial developments regarding the Italian servicemen, Latorre and Girone, especially as regards the charges against them' to Saha, a statement by their foreign ministry in Rome said.

The marines were arrested on 19 February, four days after they allegedly opened fire while travelling by ship Enrica Lexie and killed two fishermen off the coast of Kerala, apparently suspecting them to be pirates.
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