Italian marines case: How the UN court order leaves India at sea

enrica-lexie
In February 2012, India had accused two Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, of killing two Indian fishermen | Photo: PTI

When Valentine Jelastine and Ajish Pinku set sail from Neendakara fishing harbour in Kollam on February 15, 2012, they had no idea they wouldn’t return home alive.

That night, the two fishermen were killed in rifle fire by two Italian navy marines who were on board the Enrica Lexie, an Italian oil tanker, approximately 20.5 nautical miles off India’s coast.

The Italian marines — Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre — claimed to have mistaken the fishermen for pirates.

There were nine others along with Jelastine and Pinku on the fishing boat St Anthony. Freddy, the captain of the boat, later said that he suddenly woke up at night and saw Jelastine was bleeding from his nose and ears. Freddy realised that bullets were being shot at the boat and asked everyone to lie down. He then saw Pinku. Blood was oozing out of the right side of his chest. Freddy quickly took over the steering and raced as fast as he could and managed to escape. When he later went to take a look at Jelastine and Pinku, they both had died.

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