Italian marines to face trial in Delhi

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Italian marines to face trial in Delhi

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Two Italian marines accused of murdering two Indian fishermen off the coast of India are to be sent back to Delhi to face trial.

The two officers, were part of a military security team protecting a tanker from piracy in February last year.

They are accused of shooting the fishermen off the southern Indian state of Kerala.

They say they fired warning shots at a fishing boat believing it to be a pirate vessel.

The incident sparked a major diplomatic rift between the two countries.

The surprise decision to return the two marines for trial followed intense negotiations in which Rome secured a promise from New Delhi that they would not face the death penalty if convicted, officials said.

The marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, flew back to India on Friday on an Italian air force plane. The Italian deputy foreign minister Staffan de Mistura travelled with them.

“We are happy with the outcome which is consistent with the dignity of Indian judicial process,” Indian Prime Ministerf Manmohan Singh told reporters.