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Murder charges filed against Italian marines in Indian court

Published By United Press International
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India, May 18 (UPI Asia) -- Prosecutors filed murder charges against two Italian naval guards held for the shooting deaths of two Indian fisherman three months ago.

The charges were filed in a court at Kollam city, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The two marines have been imprisoned since the shooting on February 15, and are charged under both Indian penal code and international maritime laws.

Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone were guards on the merchant vessel Enrica Lexie that was later impounded by Indian authorities. The two have been listed as the first and the second accused in the charges filed in the court.

Indian courts have refused a plea from the Italian government to turn the two marines over for trial in Italy, claiming the incident occurred in international waters. Indian authorities contend that the shooting occurred in Indian waters.

The prosecution's charges say that the shooting occurred 20.5 nautical miles off the Indian coast.

The prosecution has also listed as case properties material seized from the Italian ship, including voyage data recorder, six Beretta guns, two mini-light machine guns, 1690 bullets and the deck-log of the ship, both in Italian and English, and the GPS.

A total of 60 witnesses will be examined in the trial including the crew of the Italian ship and the other fishermen who were on board the Indian fishing vessel.

The Italian government had earlier paid compensation to the families of the two dead fishermen, Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki.

India's Supreme Court earlier this month allowed the Italian ship to sail back to its country.
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