Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre. ( Photo | AP)
Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre. ( Photo | AP)

Indian trap, Italian apathy: Marine’s book kicks up row

Latorre and Salvatore Girone had been on board oil tanker MB Enrica Lexie and arrested by the Kerala Police following the incident.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre, one of the accused in the controversial Enrica Lexie case in which two Indian fishermen were gunned down off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, has kicked up a political storm in the European country through his book on his 10-year ‘ordeal’.

Latorre and Salvatore Girone had been on board the oil tanker MB Enrica Lexie and were arrested by the Kerala Police following the incident. After a long-drawn legal and diplomatic battle, their trial was transferred to Rome. They were acquitted on January 31, 2022.

The book titled ‘Il sequestro del maró’ (The abduction of the marines) details the events before and after the shooting as a conversation between Latorre and interviewer Mario Capanna. Its review by an Italian media outlet says it reconstructs the events sequentially, beginning from the ‘encounter’ with an ‘alleged pirates boat’ and how the crew fell into a ‘trap’ set by Indians to get them to port and arrest and detain them.

The book has an entire chapter, ‘The Indian Trap’, alleging how India devised a ‘bait’ to make the ship fall into its net first and then Latorre and Girone. Latorre is also suing his government seeking compensation for its lapses, which included sending him back to India where he faced the threat of a death penalty.

“The story was born out of the desire to make known the almost incredible story that I had to experience, without any fault of my own, but only for having done my duty,” Latorre says in the beginning of the book. Published on November 11, the book ran out of stock twice on Amazon.

On November 15, Latorre and Capanna presented a copy at the press room of Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament.

“In the end, there are no winners in this, only losers. However, after a 10-year odyssey, I want to think about the good meaning of life and people. This is why I have not become a dry, rancorous, victim of regret for having so many years of my life taken away without a reason. I’m still Massimiliano Latorre, and I’ve always done my duty,” he had said.

Story has been told without omissions, says interviewer

Capanna, the interviewer, said the story has been told in its entirety, without omissions and after verifying facts. “Massimiliano is the author,” Capanna said, adding that he just put his words in order, making use of his modest writing experience.

Latorre says in the book: “It still saddens me that, after January 31, 2022 – following the full acquittal – no one, neither in politics nor in the institutions, has spoken out on the absurd story. I was weighed down by the lack of that pat on the back...which would have been a moral comfort.”

Salvatore Girone said he was not associated with Latorre’s book. Taking to Facebook on November 16 to respond to queries and criticisms, including the choice of a politician-interviewer, he wrote: “These are choices of the author that I respect and do not judge. It’s about the story of who wrote it, whatever the title is, the essential thing is the content that I still don’t know.” He said he too was considering the option of seeking compensation from the Italian government.

The New Indian Express