THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen from Kerala and Tamil Nadu were acquitted by a trial court in Rome. Italian news agency ANSA reported that a preliminary investigations judge (GIP) on Monday acquitted marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre who were accused to have killed Valentine Jelastine of Kollam and Ajeesh Pink of Kanyakumari, mistaking them for pirates, off the coast in Kochi. The incident happened on February 15, 2012 when the marines opened fire from the ship Enrica Lexie.
According to the agency, the GIP’s ruling had been expected after a prosecutor in December asked for dropping the charges against both. In a statement, Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini welcomed the “positive outcome” for Girone and Latorre. Quashing the long-pending criminal case in June, last year, the SC had ruled that Rs 4 cr each would be given to the families and Rs 2 cr to the owner of the boat used by the fishermen.