05/30/2012, 00.00
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Kerala: Italian marines out on bail

Fr Stephen Kulakkayathil tells AsiaNews. He is the parish priest of Quilon, which belongs to the diocese where the two fishermen who died in the incident with the Enrica Lexie lived. The Kerala High Court imposes a 10 million rupee bail (US$ 180,000) and certain conditions.

Kochi (AsiaNews) - Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in February this year, have been granted bail by the Kerala High Court, Fr Stephen Kulakkayathil, parish priest of Quilon, told AsiaNews. The bail was set at 10 million rupees (US$ 180,000). The two marines must remain available for any further interrogations.

"The conditions set by the court are very restrictive," the priest said. "It is probable that the authorities will not return their passport. They will remain in India for the time being, in the embassy." Two Indian citizens will act as "guarantors".

Meanwhile, Kerala authorities appear to have dropped some of the charges, especially those relating to India's maritime terrorism laws.

The two marines are the only people under investigation in connection with the death of the two Indian fishermen, Jelestein and Ajesh Binki, who were killed off the coast of Kerala on 15 February.

The two soldiers were on board the Italian ship Enrica Lexie at the time of the incident and allegedly mistook the fishermen for pirates. (GM)


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