New Delhi, Mar 21 (IBNS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him not to succumb to foreign pressure while dealing with the Italian marines’ case.
“Ever since the killing of the two fishermen, the entire people of Kerala are very anxious to know each and every step of the criminal prosecution of the Italian marines as the killing was very brutal, high handed, unprovoked and totally illegal act on the part of the marines,” wrote Chandy.
“If the accused are exonerated unconditionally at the intervention of the UN or by any foreign nation, it will cause heavy prejudice and an insult to the judicial system of our country,” he said in his letter to the PM.
In February, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the two Italian marines, accused in the Kerala fishermen killing case, will not be tried under the stringent maritime security law that provides only death penalty as punishment.
Though Italy firmly objected to booking the marines under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against safety of Maritime Navigation And Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act (SUA Act), saying they are neither terrorists nor pirates, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony said the government will follow the country’s laws.
Italy on Feb 18 recalled its Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini as a protest over delay in legal proceedings against its two marines.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Feb 7 revised the sanction given to prosecute the two Italian marines-Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone-and decided to drop the clause on death penalty.
Going by Italy’s request, India decided to charge the marines under a new section of the law, where the maximum penalty is not the death penalty.
The marines will now face a maximum of 10 years in jail for the shooting.
On Feb 15, 2012, the security officials of Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen mistaking them as pirates in the high seas off Ambalapuzha in Kerala. They were subsequently arrested.