SC grants 3 months extension to Italian Marine in his country

SC grants 3 months extension to Italian Marine in his countryNEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today granted three months extension to Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre, accused of killing Indian fishermen in 2012, to stay in his country on medical grounds.

A bench headed by Justice A R Dave allowed the plea of the Marine, who had recently undergone heart surgery in Italy after the Centre said there was no objection to allow his plea on humanitarian ground.

The bench also comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Shiva Kirti Singh permitted a plea of the Marine after Italian ambassador gave an identical undertaking which was given by him on September 12, 2014, when Latorre was allowed to go to his country last year for four months for medical treatment after he suffered a stroke here on August 31.

Additional Solicitor General PL Narasimha told the bench that he has an instruction that the Marine be considered for his plea provided the Italian ambassador furnish the identical undertaking.

Senior advocate Soli Sorabji, appearing for the Marine, said that the ambassador is ready with the undertaking on the same terms and conditions.
The bench allowed the plea of the marine but said it was a little surprised that he was seeking extension by three months on health grounds.

The apex court had on September 12 last year allowed Latorre to travel to his country after the Centre said that in principle it has no objection to the plea.

The apex court had also taken on record an “unequivocal” and “unambiguous” undertaking by Latorre regarding the dates of departure and arrival back to India.

The apex court had also taken on record the undertaking furnished by the Italian Ambassador on behalf of the Republic of Italy that the ailing marine would abide by all terms and conditions set for his travel to his native country.

The matter was listed for today after a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu had on the last hearing referred it to another bench, saying it was not proper for it to take up the application of the marine, seeking extension of stay on health grounds, as it had earlier expressed some reservations and made certain observations on a similar plea.

Latorre, one of the two Italian marines facing murder charges in the fishermen killing case had, on January 7, moved the apex court seeking extension of his stay in Italy on the ground that he had undergone a heart surgery on January 5.

The case against marines pertains to the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Latorre and Girone on board ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.

The bench had earlier refused to grant the extension to Latorre and had also rejected the plea of co-accused Marine Salvatore Girone, who had sought the apex court’s nod to go to Italy to celebrate Christmas saying they cannot get such “leeway”.

The complaint was lodged by Freddy, the owner of the fishing boat ‘St Antony’, in which the two Indian fishermen were killed when the marines started firing on them allegedly under the misconception that they were pirates. -PTI

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