Fishermen death: Italy to pay $400,000,says lawyer

Actual signing is yet to be done; criminal case against 2 marines remains unaffected by settlement.

Written by Associated Press | Mumbai | Published: April 20, 2012 2:57 pm

Italy has agreed to pay nearly $200,000 to each of the families of two dead Indian fishermen allegedly shot by Italian marines who mistook them for pirates,lawyers for the victims’ families said Friday.

V M Syamkumar,a lawyer for the sisters of slain fisherman Ajeesh Pink,said details of an accord to pay Rs 10 million ($192,308) to each family have been finalized,”but the actual signing is yet to be done.”

The government’s criminal case against the two marines would be unaffected by the settlement and continue in the courts of Kerala,lawyers for both families said.

If the settlement goes through,the families would withdraw their civil complaint for compensation against the marines and withdraw requests for criminal action to be initiated against Enrica Lexie’s captain,Syamkumar said.

C Unnikrishnan – lawyer for the widow of slain fisherman Valantine,who goes by one name – said a petition for an out-of-court settlement was filed Thursday and that he expects the matter to be finalised next Tuesday.

He said the agreement was reached late last week in the presence of a local priest and Pasquale Preziosa,chief of staff of Italy’s Defense Ministry.

Italian officials have been speaking with the families of the fishermen and their priest for weeks,Italian Consul General Giampaolo Cutillo said. He said that those talks included discussion of a possible monetary settlement,but declined to confirm the amount.

”We wanted to express our condolences and solidarity,” Cutillo said.

Italy will continue its legal fight to get jurisdiction over the case and bring the soldiers back to Italy to face trial,he said. The two men are now in a jail in Kerala.

Pink’s aunt,Janet Mary Koyilvilakom,said she and Pink’s sisters met with Italian officials and a local priest at the Mascot Hotel in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday,April 13.

She said her family initially wanted Rs 20 million,or nearly $400,000,against Italy’s initial offer of Rs 7 million ($134,615).

She said dowry demands in the area are exorbitant and that she hopes to use the money to get Pink’s two sisters wed.

”After the death of Ajeesh Pink,his sisters are in a poor condition,” she said. ”I can marry them off with this money.”

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