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MHA in a fix over NIA's move to prosecute Italian marines under SUA

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MHA in a fix over NIAs move to prosecute Italian marines under SUA
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New Delhi: The Home Ministry has found itself in a tight spot over NIA's move seeking sanction to prosecute Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen under a law which provides only death penalty as India has made a commitment not to charge them with death.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought the Home Ministry's nod to prosecute the two Italian marines under 'Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf' Act (SUA) for killing fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15, 2012.

Sources said the Ministry is in a fix over the NIA move as under SUA, if anyone causes death, then he or she will be awarded with only a death penalty but India has already assured Italy that the offence would not warrant death under established jurisprudence.

Faced with the peculiar situation, the Home Ministry is planning to refer the case to the Attorney General for legal opinion.

There is another suggestion that after slapping SUA, the NIA may tell the trial court not to award the accused death penalty if found guilty, citing India's commitment to Italy.

Accused Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were on board Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie' and now lodged in New Delhi's Italy Embassy premises, allegedly shot dead the two fishermen off Kerala coast.

PTI

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