Italian marines' case referred to sessions

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Decks were on Friday cleared for the trial of two Italian marines, charged with shooting to death two Indian fishermen, with a court here issuing an order for shifting the case before a sessions judge.

Chief Judicial Magistrate A.K. Gopakuar issued the Committal Warrant for shifting the case to the Sessions Court when the marines were produced before him on expiry of their judicial remand.

The magistrate said in his order that since the case had reached the trial stage it was being referred to the Sessions Court for further proceedings.

The marines lodged in the Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram for the last three months, are expected to be moved to the Borstal School in Kochi.

A decision in this regard was taken by the state Government on Thursday in tune with the guidelines of the Geneva Convention on treating soldiers accused in cases.

Italian government had made a plea to the state authorities to shift the marines to a guest house declaring it as a prison.

Based on this, the Supreme Court had observed that the state DGP and jail ADGP could take an appropriate decision on shifting the marines from the jail.

The naval guards on board Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' were arrested on February 19 and charged with murder of fishermen Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki after they fired at them apparently mistaking them for pirates on February 15 off Kerala coast.

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