Italy expects a fair trial for marines: Mistura

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Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura, now in Kerala in connection with the case of shooting of two fishermen, on Sunday said his country expects the trial of the accused Italian marines to be fair as the judiciary was independent in India.

"What I could learn from here is that judiciary is independent, fair and transparent in India. So, we expect the trial in the case to be fair with judges hearing both sides," Mistura told reporters here.

On the intervention of Italian government in the case, he said, "We are only doing what Indians would have done in a similar situation."

Mistura said the sympathy of Italy was with the bereaved family of the two fishermen who died on February 15.

He said the purpose of his visit to the town (Kollam) was to convey condolences to the family of Jelastine, one of the two fishermen killed. He said it was unfortunate that he could not meet the family members of Jelastine.

Meanwhile, Jelastine's family turned down the move of the Italian delegation to meet them at a local church during the Sunday mass.

Sources close to the family said they feared that meeting the Italians without the knowledge of the government or investigators would harm their case leading to denial of justice.

Mistura and his team arrived here last evening and met two Italian marines charged with murder in the shooting case and detained in police custody.

Though the Italian team tried to have a meeting with wife and two sons of Jelastine with the help of a Catholic priest, it did not succeed. Police objected to the move on security grounds while the family members also did not show any interest in meeting the team.

The fishermen, Jelastine and Ajesh Binki, were allegedly shot dead by the two Italian marine guards off the Kollam coast on February 15 suspecting them to be pirates.

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