Indian court to hear Italian marine's plea to return home

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's top court said Monday that it would hold a hearing this week on an Italian marine's plea to return home while international arbitration plays out over the 2012 fatal shootings of two Indian fishermen in which he and a fellow marine are implicated.

Judges from the Supreme Court set Thursday for a hearing on the Italian Foreign Ministry's request to ease the bail conditions for marine Salvatore Girone to allow his speedy repatriation to Italy. Girone is free on bail but has been ordered to remain in New Delhi since 2012 while the case is pending.

The case against Girone and another Italian marine, Massimiliano Latorre, has strained relations between India and Italy, which disagree on the facts of the case and who has jurisdiction. Italy has also complained bitterly about the fact that, in four years, India has never formally charged either of the marines with a crime.

Earlier this month, the international tribunal in The Hague said that India and Italy should work toward an agreement to allow Girone to return home. It said the two countries should present their arguments over relaxing his bail conditions to India's Supreme Court.

India has accused Girone and Latorre of killing the two fishermen in Indian waters while the Italians were assigned to anti-piracy duties aboard an Italian commercial ship. Italy says the marines thought the fishermen were pirates and that the shooting occurred in international waters, and has taken the case to international arbitration.

India has insisted it has jurisdiction, while Italy has argued that the case should be heard in an Italian court.

Latorre has been in Italy since 2014 for medical treatment after suffering a stroke in India.

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