Fishermen killing: Italian marines return to Kerala

Two Italian marines charged with killing two Indian fishermen and currently out on bail, returned to Kerala today after celebrating Christmas with their families in Italy.

Italian marines
Italian marines Lattore Massimillano and Salvatore Girone (Pic - AFP)

"We have kept our word and have full faith in the Indian judicial system. I'm sure the people of Kerala and the country will look upon this as an act that shows the good relations the two countries have," Italy's consular general told reporters soon after the marines arrived at 8.30 am on a chartered flight from Rome.

Lattore Massimillano and Salvatore Girone were given relaxation in bail conditions and they left Kerala Dec 22 to spend Christmas with their families. They were asked by the Kerala High Court to return by Jan 10.

On their arrival, the duo were driven to the police commissioner's office for reporting. They would appear before a court in Kollam to surrender their passports and then return to Kochi, where they will be staying in a hotel.

The two have been charged with shooting dead two fishermen -- Ajesh Binki and Gelastine -- Feb 15 last year after mistaking them for pirates.

The Kerala High Court granted them relaxation in the bail conditions after they filed a petition asking that they be allowed to leave for their home country to celebrate Christmas.

The court wanted an assurance from the Italian government that they should ensure the two return to stand trial in the case.

The return of the marines will bring relief to the Kerala government that came under attack from opposition Left parties, kin of the killed fishermen besides fishermen organisations for not filing an appeal after the court relaxed the bail conditions, enabling the Italian marines to fly home.

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