Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week to express concern over the situation involving two Italian marines arrested in Kerala for allegedly killing two fishermen in February. This was their third conversation,including one in Seoul on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in March this year.
Monti,who has been pressing for the transfer of marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone to Italy,is believed to have conveyed concern over the conditions in which the two are in,sources said.
The telephonic conversation took place a few days ago,prior to the hearing in Kollam court on Saturday,which rejected the bail plea of the marines,the sources said.
The telephonic call from Monti was followed up with the Italian foreign ministry summoning Indian Ambassador Debabrata Saha in Rome to convey concerns over the murder charges being framed against the marines. Italy has also recalled its Ambassador to India Giacomo Sanfelice to express its unhappiness over the matter.
The marines were arrested on February 19,four days after they allegedly opened fire while on board an Italian ship,Enrica Lexie,and killed two fishermen off the coast of Kerala,apparently suspecting them to be pirates.
The Italian PM had earlier called up Singh in March,warning him against setting a dangerous precedent with the prosecution of two Italian marines in India.
Any attitude from the Indian side that is not fully in line with international law…risks creating a dangerous precedent for international peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions, Monti was quoted as saying to Singh during the March 7 conversation.
The alleged incident,the circumstances of which still have to be clarified,
occurred in international waters and jurisdiction is therefore only Italian, Monti had told Singh,according to a government statement. With PTI