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Shooting case: Court rejects Italian marines bail plea

Kollam (Kerala): A court here today rejected the bail application of two Italian marines accused in the fishermen killing case, holding that granting it might affect progress of the case.

Rejecting the plea of Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, detained for the last three months, District and Sessions Judge P D Rajan said releasing them from prison on bail at this juncture might affect the conduct of the case.

The marines on board the Italian ship `Enrica Lexie` had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen–Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Bi –on February 15, apparently mistaking them for pirates. The marines, who were arrested on February 19, are lodged in the Central Prison at Thiruvanathapuram under judicial remand.

Police had on Friday filed the charge sheet in a court here charging them with murder under the Indian Penal Code and also invoking the International Maritime Law in the incident which had led to a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

Within hours after the charge sheet was filed, Italy called back its Ambassador to India for "consultations". Italy insists that since the incident occurred in international waters, the marines should be tried in Italian courts rather than Indian courts.

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