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MARINES: Indian Ambassador summoned to the foreign ministry

“Unacceptable” is the Italian government’s term for the main charge of manslaughter lodged against the two Italian servicemen, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, still being detained in a Trivandrum prison. The foreign ministry summoned its Ambassador in New Delhi Giacomo Sanfelice to Rome, and later the Indian Ambassador in Rome Debabrata Saha, for consultations. Under-Secretary Staffan de Mistura met again with Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone in the Pujapoora prison to explain to them that “Italy has not been sitting on its hands throughout this affair and never will be”.


“State agents engaged in counter-piracy”


Ambassador Saha was summoned to the foreign ministry where Director General with responsibility for Asia Giandomenico Magliano impressed upon him the unacceptable nature of the judicial developments regarding the Italian servicemen, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, especially as regards the charges against them. It was reiterated that the two servicemen are agents of the Italian state engaged in counter-piracy operations and as such enjoy immunity. Moreover, international law clearly gives Italy jurisdiction since the Italian ship, the Enrica Lexie, was in international waters.


Under-Secretary De Mistura intervenes


In all his meetings over the four days of his third visit to India since February, De Mistura has expressed lack of satisfaction and irritation with what became a clear strategy of avoidance after the Kerala police and prison authorities’ 20-day postponement of the transfer of the servicemen to a place other than the central prison facility of Trivandrum. In meetings with the members of the Italian delegation, Latorre and Girone confirmed their feeling that, regardless of the legal course of events, it was fundamental they be moved to the Borstal School of Kochi for both physical and psychological reasons. The two men were also visited by Ambassador Andrea Perugini, the foreign ministry’s Central Director with responsibility for Asia, and by Carabinieri Colonel Francesco Bruzzese. In the meantime, after two earlier failed attempts, the men’s lawyers are preparing a new motion to the High Court of Kerala for the men to be released on bail.