Italy recalls ambassador to India over trial delay

Published February 18, 2014
Italian special envoy Staffan de Mistura (right) and military attache Franco Faure leave the Supreme Court in New Delhi. -AFP Photo
Italian special envoy Staffan de Mistura (right) and military attache Franco Faure leave the Supreme Court in New Delhi. -AFP Photo

ROME: Italy recalled its ambassador to India on Tuesday after the South Asian country's supreme court delayed a decision on trying two Italian marines held without charge since 2012.

The foreign ministry also summoned India's ambassador to Italy after the latest delay in a case that has seriously strained ties between the two countries and prompted Italy to seek UN and European Union intervention.

''The behavior of India's judicial authorities, two years after the incident, is unacceptable and shows that India is intent on procrastinating beyond every limit,'' Rome's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were providing security aboard a cargo ship in February 2012 when they opened fire on a fishing boat they mistook for a pirate craft and killed two Indian fishermen.

The marines are on bail pending trial, and are living and working at the Italian Embassy in New Delhi.

India's supreme court was to hear arguments on Tuesday on whether to try the marines under India's severe anti-piracy statute, which could result in a 10-year sentence. But the court delayed the hearing until Monday.

India has ruled out the death penalty. Italy has objected for two years over India's handling of the case, insisting at the outset that the firing occurred in international waters during an international anti-piracy mission and thus Rome, not India, should have jurisdiction.

It has denounced India's planned use of the anti-piracy statute, saying it was ''absolutely out of proportion'' crime and implied that Italy was a terrorist country.

The Italians have sought international support for their cause. The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the EU was ''deeply worried'' about the use of the anti-piracy statute and was following the case closely.

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...