Rome: Conservative Italian politician Ignazio La Russa wants the two Italian Marines facing trial in India for murder of two fishermen to stand for election to the European Parliament, he said Tuesday.
"If Italians elect them, I want to see if the European Union will take on their case and how India will avoid sending them home," La Russa, former Italian defence minister, told Il Messaggero daily.
He was referring to Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who have been charged with with murder for the shooting of two fishermen off the coast of the south Indian state of Kerala in February last year while on security detail on an oil tanker.
Latorre and Girone say they mistook the fishermen for pirates and Italy wants the pair to be repatriated, claiming India should not have jurisdiction over the case as the incident took place in international waters.
"If they are not home by Christmas, we will start the countdown," said La Russa, who is secretary of the nationalist Italian Brothers party.
"This is an affront to Italy's dignity," added the former defence minister in the last government of former premier Silvio Berlusconi and ex-member of the defunct post-fascist National Alliance party.
In an address to mark National Unity and the Armed Forces Day, head of state Giorgio Napolitano Monday said officials were working tirelessly to get Latorre and Girone home.