An Italian marine accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala returned home on Sunday after spending four years in custody in India. This comes three days after the Supreme Court relaxed Salvatore Girone’s bail conditions and granted him permission to go back to Italy, till an International Arbitral Tribunal decides where he will be put to trial in the case.
Girone received a warm welcome on arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport. Besides his family, he was embraced greeted by Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, as well as by Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the Italian navy’s top admiral.
While the apex court bench allowed Girone to return home till the jurisdictional issue between India and Italy is sorted out, it stipulated that he must surrender his passport to authorities on arrival in Italy. The court also directed him to report to his nearest police station every month. The report, in turn, will be handed over to the Indian Embassy.
The court order came after Girone, who was being held at the Italian Embassy in Delhi, and another Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre were arrested in 2012 on charges of killing two fishermen allegedly during an anti-piracy operation off the coast of the southern state. Latorre returned to Italy on medical grounds in 2015. The marines claimed they opened fire at the fishing boat as they thought Enrica Lexie, the Italian ship they were assigned to protect, was under attack.