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‘Ensure justice to victims' families in Italian marines' case’

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Thiruvananthapuram: Holding that justice should be ensured to the victims' families in the Italian marines' case, Latin Catholic Church, to which both the slain fishermen belonged, Tuesday said applying different sets of laws to different people were not justifiable.

While refusing to be drawn into the row sparked by the Centre's decision to exempt the marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast, from facing Suppression of Unlawful Acts (SUA), Archibishop Soosaipackyam said the Church's prime concern was that the victims' families received justice.

"I am not a lawyer to answer the question whether the case has been weakened by sparing the accused of facing the SUA law. However, applying different sets of laws for different people cannot be justified," Soosaipackyam, head of the archdiocese of Latin Catholic diocese here, said in reply to queries at a press meet.

"There could be pressures on the Government of India. There were reports that Indians living in Italy and other parts of Europe are facing problems because of the (marines') case. In a broader perspective, if the accused get the concessions of law as a result of these factors, we are not against that," he added.

"We are pained that two lives were lost. One of them is a member of Latin Catholic community in Kerala and the other hailed from the neighbouring diocese in Tamil Nadu. We have taken a strong stand in the case right from the start," he said.

He said what was all the more important was to put in place safety measures to ensure the security of fisherfolk to avoid such unfortunate incidents recurring, he said.

The Centre had yesterday told the Supreme Court that the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012 would not be prosecuted under the anti-piracy law SUA that attracts death penalty as maximum punishment.

PTI

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