Rome: Hundreds protest for 2 marines held in India
Posted on: 11:46 AM IST May 13, 2012
Rome: Several hundred demonstrators made their way through the centre of Rome on Saturday in support of two Italian marines being held in a prison in India awaiting trail.
The two men, Salvatore Girone and Massilimiano Latorre, are accused of shooting and killing two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates. They were providing security aboard an Italian oil tanker.
Forty marines from the San Marco Battalion came to Rome to participate in the march. The Mayor of Rome and several other politicians also joined in the protest.
The case, which has dragged on for the past three months, has tested India's relationship with Italy, which maintains that it has jurisdiction because the marines are active military personnel and the incident took place in international waters.
India says the men should be tried in India because the fishermen died on an Indian boat.
Italy has agreed to pay nearly $ 200,000 (155,000 euros) to each of the fishermen's families.
An Indian judge was due to deliver a verdict on the question of jurisdiction last week, but the decision was delayed.
Italy has launched a massive diplomatic lobbying effort since the incident last February - at one point sending foreign minister Guilio Terz for top-level talks in Delhi - arguing that the case could set a dangerous precedent for all foreign military personnel serving overseas but so far the effort has yielded little public support from the wider diplomatic community.
Both marines have been visited in prison - in the Southwest Indian state of Kerala - by their families.