India assures Italy of justice in Marines' case

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday met Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and urged him to await the verdict of Indian courts on the two Italian Marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala.

The Italian prime minister requested a brief interaction with Khurshid on the margins of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, official sources said here.

Alluding to the issue of two Italian Marines, Khurshid mentioned that a decision was awaited from the Indian courts. He assured the Italian leader that the Indian judiciary was fair, free and reasonable, said the sources.

Last month, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had criticised what he called the Indian justice system's dithering over the two Italian Marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in February.

Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki and Gelastine were allegedly mistaken as pirates and shot dead by the Marines posted as security crew of the cargo vessel Enrica Lexie off Kerala coast on Feb 15.

Italy maintains that Indian courts do not have jurisdiction to try the Italian Marines as the incident occurred in international waters. It has stressed that the two men were entitled to immunity as they were fulfilling a ‘sovereign act’ of protecting the ship against suspected pirates.

New Delhi has stuck to its stand that since the case was going on in an Indian court, it was for the court to decide.

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