Skip to main content

India bars Italian envoy from leaving over marines row

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
March 15, 2013 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
Fishermen burn an effigy of PM Manmohan Singh in Kerala, March 13, 2013, against government's handling of the Italian Marines.
Fishermen burn an effigy of PM Manmohan Singh in Kerala, March 13, 2013, against government's handling of the Italian Marines.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two Italian sailors face trial in India in connection with the killings of 2 Indian fishermen
  • India's supreme court allowed the sailors to leave India on condition they would return
  • Court demands explanation of why sailors won't return, bars Italian ambassador's departure
  • Indian prime minister warns that Italian relations will suffer if the two don't stand trial in India

New Delhi (CNN) -- India's supreme court has temporarily barred the Italian ambassador from leaving the country as a diplomatic row over Rome's refusal to return two of its marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen intensified.

Last month, the court allowed the two Italian sailors -- Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone -- to participate in their country's elections after Ambassador Daniele Mancini's assurance about their return in four weeks.

Latorre and Girone are facing trial in India in connection with the 2012 killing of the fishermen off the country's coast. The defendants say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.

On Thursday, the top Indian court demanded an explanation from Mancini by March 18 over his country's decision not to send them back.

"Till then (March 18), Mr. Daniele Mancini shall not leave India without the permission of this court," the order said.

Italy insists the February 2012 shooting involving its marines happened in international waters and was therefore outside of Indian jurisdiction.

In a statement Monday, the Italian Foreign Ministry said the sailors would not go back to India.

"Italy takes this opportunity to inform the Indian government that, given the formal acknowledgment of an international dispute between the two states, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone will not be returning to India upon expiration of the leave granted (to) them," it said.

The Italian move has invited strong reaction in New Delhi, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warning Rome of consequences.

"Our government has already made it clear that these actions of the government of Italy are not acceptable. They violate every rule of diplomatic discourse and call into question solemn commitments given by accredited representatives of a sovereign government to our supreme court," he said in parliament Wednesday.

"Our government has therefore insisted that the Italian authorities respect the undertakings they have given to the honorable supreme court and return the two accused persons to stand trial in India. If they do not keep their word, there will be consequences for our relations with Italy," he added.

Indian external affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said at a news briefing Thursday that the court action against the Italian ambassador did not violate the global Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. "As of today, I have again said, we do not see any impact on the Vienna convention," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0311 GMT (1111 HKT)
For the first time in 24 years, Germany has lifted the World Cup after beating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
Do you know your gurkentruppe from your bananenflanken? CNN helps.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0351 GMT (1151 HKT)
Police moved in just one hour before Rui Chenggang was due to appear on air, leaving his anchor chair empty.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
A salvage team will attempt to float the ill-fated Costa Concordia again. CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0732 GMT (1532 HKT)
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0444 GMT (1244 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT