Italian marines in Kerala jail bailed by India court

  • 30 May 2012
  • From the section India
Italian marines Latore Massimiliano, left and Salvatore Girone arrive to appear before a court in Kollam in southern Kerala state, India, Monday, April 30, 2012.
Image caption The two marines have been detained in Kerala, India

An Indian court has given bail to two Italian marines charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen.

The Kerala High Court has ordered Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone to deposit their passports and barred them from leaving Kochi city.

The marines have also been ordered to deposit 10m rupees (£114,507; $178,110) each for their bail.

The duo are accused of shooting the two fishermen dead in February after allegedly mistaking them for pirates.

The marines were guarding an Italian oil tanker off India's south-western coast when the incident occurred.

They have been in jail for the past three months.

The jailing of the marines has resulted in a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

Italy agreed in April to pay 10m rupees (£117,013; 143,203 euros; $189,000) in compensation to each of the families of the two Indian fishermen.

In return, the families agreed to withdraw civil court cases against the marines.

However, the diplomatic row between the countries continued despite the compensation and talks between the two governments.

'Warning shots'

Italy said that the Indian fishing boat had behaved aggressively and ignored warning shots from their ship, the oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie.

But India said the fishermen, Selestian Valentine and Ajesh Pinky, had been unarmed.

Italy says the incident took place in international waters and that the men should be tried in Italy.

India initially said the event had occurred in its territorial waters and that the marines should therefore be tried under local laws.

It recently changed its position, saying that the incident had taken place in international waters and that the Kerala police had had no jurisdiction to detain the ship.

However, Kerala state officials have maintained the marines would be tried under Indian law.

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