Pirate attack bid story not credible, says HC
Thursday, 31 May 2012 | 00:00
TheHigh Court held that the Italians’ story of an attempted pirate attack in the Enrica Lexie case was not a credible one.
According to the two Italian marines, chief master sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and sergeant Salvatore Girone, they shot down two fishermen when there was an attempted pirate attack beyond the territorial sea of India. They also said that the master of the vessel immediately set into motion the alarm, flash lights and horns. The master had also activated the Ship Alert Security System (SASS), which sent out signals to the Italian Maritime Co-ordination Centre.
However, the court said that the attempted attack by pirates was vague and no particulars regarding the attack were mentioned in the petition. “The petitioners have not produced any record that before opening fire they had intimated any pirate threat to the Captain of the vessel. There was no document in support that the master had activated the SASS. So the pleadings are not sufficient enough to come to a conclusion that firing was done in order to avert a pirate attack,” the court said.
There were 11 persons in the fishing boat, and except two, all others were sleeping when the marines opened fire, the court pointed out. The marines fired continuously for about two minutes. The police said that the fishing boat was 200 meters away from the vessel and the fishermen were unarmed. There was no attempt to board the vessel, the court said.
“The marines could also closely monitor the activities of the fishermen through their telescope. There is nothing in the petition about it. It’s thus clear that the firing was not done in self defence,” the court said and added that the callous murder of unarmed fishermen has to be dealt with seriously.
Italy had submitted that the marines were employed in the Italian Military Navy and that they were discharging sovereign functions and hence entitled to immunity. However, the court said that no documents other than an identity card were produced. “The vessel belongs to a private party and was engaged in commercial activities, which are in no way connected to any sovereign function of Italy,” the court said.
Source: Express News Service
There are no comments available.