FIR stays, HC fines Italian marines Rs2lakh

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Cracking the whip on the Italian marines for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast, the Kerala high court on Tuesday dismissed Italy’s petition seeking to quash the FIR registered against its marines in connection with the murder case.

Justice P.S. Gopinathan also slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the marines and asked Italy to pay the money for wasting the court’s valuable time. The court held that the state government has penal jurisdiction to try the accused marines in the firing case.

The court criticised the acts of the victims’ family members, who agreed for an out-of court monetary compensation from Italians, and said that by doing so, they wasted the valuable time of the court.

The court imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each on the families of the two deceased fishermen for this unacceptable action.

The court found that the petitioners, chief master sergeant Massimiliano Lattore and sergeant Salvatore Girone, gunned down the two unarmed fishermen in a brutal manner without any provocation. “So, the FIR cannot be quashed, and the marines are liable to be prosecuted.”

“The incident occurred in the territorial waters of India within India's Exclusive Economic Zone or Contiguous Zone (EEZ/CZ), making the Indian penal laws applicable," the court held.

The court relied on the notification issued by the Union ministry of home affairs on August 1981, as per which the incident can be registered under provisions of the IPC and Criminal Procedure Code.

“The Republic of Italy has come to this court without any bona fides. No investigation was initiated by Italy to prosecute the marines. There has not been any attempt to know the truth and to get any statement from the captain of the vessel,” the court observed. The court also clarified that Enrica Lexie from which the shooting took place was a private ship. “So, sovereignty of the nation cannot be claimed.”

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