05/18/2012, 00.00
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Kerala police claim Italian marines responsible for murder and attempted murder

Charge contained in the documents submitted to the court by the Special Investigation Team of Kochi (SIT). Exact location of incident also indicated, but no reference to ballistic report. Marines to be transferred in a guest house within 20 days.

Trivandrum (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Murder and attempted murder: these are the accusations presented today by the police to the Kochi court in Kerala against the Italian Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, investigated for the killing of two Indian fishermen, 15 last February. The documents arrived 89 days after the arrest of the San Marco Battalion of Fusiliers, on February 19 last, and just in time for the deadline of 90 days of judicial custody. Once past this period, bail can be granted. Meanwhile, the Marines are expected to be transferred from prison in the next 20 days to another structure, probably a guest house.

The incident occurred off the coast of Kerala. The two soldiers were on board the Italian tanker Enrica Lexie as security guards, and fired on an Indian vessel mistaking it for pirates. The two victims were Jelestein, 45, and Binki Ajesh, 25.

Originally, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by the Commissioner of Police MR Ajith Kumar had filed documents containing various charges, according to art. 302 (murder), 307 (attempted murder), 427 (dangerous behavior that causes damage) and 34 (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code. The court has admitted, however, only the first two.

In addition, in the documents the SIT indicates that the accident took place 22 nautical miles off the coast of Neendakara, the so-called "contiguous zone". This differs from the original findings contained in the First Information Report (FIR), which stated the episode took place 33 miles from the Indian coast in international waters.

On 25 April, the family have reached an extrajudicial agreement with the Italian government, which provided for compensation of 10 million rupees (about 145 thousand euros) each, in exchange for withdrawal from civil cases in which were shown as the injured party.


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