INSIGHT-Murder trial of Italian marines

“How could they kill with warning shots? These men had ample experience as vessel protection detachment personnel. Murder is out of the question.”

INSIGHT-Murder trial of Italian marines in India navigates murky waters

By Annie Banerji and D. Jose

NEW DELHI/KANYAKUMARI, June 10 (Reuters) – The thud of bullets smacking into his wooden fishing boat jolted captain John Freddy out of his afternoon nap. He saw one of his crew slumped dead over the helm and then, seconds later, another shot in the chest. The man cried out for his mother before falling dead on the deck, Freddy would later tell Indian police.

Indian prosecutors allege the two Indian fishermen were shot by two Italian marines serving as security guards on an Italian-flagged oil tanker, the Enrica Lexie, about 20 nautical miles off the southern Indian state of Kerala in February last year.

The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, are awaiting trial in New Delhi on charges of murder. Their Indian lawyers say their clients mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots into the water. The two marines do not admit killing anyone or aiming directly at the fishing boat.

“How could they kill with warning shots?” a lawyer for the marines, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters. “These men had ample experience as vessel protection detachment personnel. Murder is out of the question.”

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Source: Reuters.

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