Quilon (AsiaNews) - "The families are praying for the two marines, for their speedy release and that justice may be done. They do not want to punish them, because they have nothing against them," Fr Stephen Kulakkayathil told AsiaNew. He is in charge of pastoral care in the diocese of Quilon (Kerala), to which belonged Jelastine, one of the two fishermen killed in the incident with Enrica Lexie on 15 February 2012. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are the only people on trial for his death and that of Ajesh Binki.
Tomorrow, the Indian Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to turn the case for further investigation over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), an Indian federal agency specialised in counter-terrorism, or to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the criminal police.
On April 16, Italy submitted a memorandum challenging the NIA's jurisdiction, which indicted the marines on a number of charges, two of which carry the death penalty.
However, "The marines will not be sentenced to death," Fr Kulakkayathil said, "I personally do not think there is this danger, and I hope that everything will be resolved quickly."
On the issue of their guilt, the clergyman noted that "We do not know why they fired but it is certain they did not want to kill the fishermen. No one has suggested that someone else might have done it. I am praying for them. The diocese is praying for them. The families of the victims are praying for them. They have lost their loved ones, but they keep going. They are happy and have confidence in India's judiciary. India shall deliver justice, I am sure, but not by the death penalty." (GM)