Rome (AsiaNews) - The two navy marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre have "high hopes" of being able to go home for Christmas. This is confirmed to AsiaNews by Fr. Giuseppe Faraci, a Comboni missionary and military chaplain, who has personally followed the two soldiers, accused in the death of two Indian fishermen, during the 15 February incident involving the Italian tanker Enrica Lexie, off the coast of Kerala. On 17 December the Supreme Court of India is expected to give the final ruling on the jurisdiction of the case. The full acquittal of the two marines depends on the verdict. They are currently released on conditional bail in Kochi. Even Giulio Terzi, the Italian Foreign Minister, said he was "optimistic" and "convinced" of an imminent return home, while reaffirming "prudence."
"Usually - explains Fr. Faraci - the Supreme Court does not issue a verdict in the first two to three months. Since August 28, there have been six hearings, the trial ended September 4. Based on the usual procedure, hopefully we will arrive at a judgment. Before it was a gamble to hope for an early verdict". Like Minister Terzi, the missionary is cautious: "We are all waiting for it, even the men [the two Marines, ed] are optimistic. But in the event that it does not arrive, I'm getting ready to leave and spend Christmas with them".
Pending the ruling, the two marines are residing in a hotel in Kochi, a city where they can move freely, call their families and receive visits without restrictions. "Every Sunday they go to church - says Fr. Faraci AsiaNews - I send them sermons and readings to help them with English. During these months they have really grown, in human and spiritual terms. My dream, one day, would be to help them meet with the families of the victims, who are wonderful people. "Subject to the conditions set for the probation, the two marines are forbidden to meet with the families of killed fishermen, until the trial has ended.
In general, the chaplain explains "the two marines are living in a very humane and friendly environment." But, he stresses, "this was also the case even when they were in prison. The guards and prison director have always treated them with great respect and care. They granted 5-6 hour visits, we brought them an electric cooker, a coffee maker. Indeed a bar to do the exercises, which could have been used as a weapon. "
Now, concludes Fr. Faraci, "we can only wait with them. Hopefully we will soon be able to announce Easter even at Christmas." (GM)