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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Marines of Enrica Lexie allowed to vote in Italian elections

Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone have been  permitted to vote in February 24, 25 elections where Pier Luigi Bersani, the current Secretary of the Democratic Party is considered to be a favourite.    It is election time in Italy ~ the general election to determine the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 315 elective members of the Senate, the two houses of the Italian parliament ~ the election which will determine the composition of the 17th Parliament of the Italian Republic.

The elections  have become due following the  European sovereign debt crisis which brought about the resignation of  Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in  Nov 2011, he was also facing criminal charges is another.  It is now viewed that what happens in Italy would affect  the rest of Europe. If you are unable to link those two names to Italy elections, one need to go back to the shores of Kerala,  a year ago to that ill-fated day on 15th Feb 2012 when two Indian fishermen were shot dead by the Italian Marines on board the  vessel Enrica Lexie.  It was seen as brazen killing of fishermen on board a fishing vessel which went closer to the vessel on which Italian Marines were providing security cover.  The  mishap allegedly occurred off Thottappally coast in Alappuzha district.

On 20 December, the Kerala High Court accepted to temporarily relax bail conditions for both Italian Marines by allowing them to travel to Italy for 2 weeks during the Christmas vacation period. Italy was required to pay a further bond of Rs. 6 crore and keep the Marines under surveillance at all times. The Italian Government submitted guarantees to the High Court prior to taking custody of the Marines and was responsible for their return and surrender of passports to the Kerala High Court. On 4 January 2013, the marines flew back to Kochi airport.

The ones mentioned in the first line of this post are the Italian Marines. The Supreme Court on Friday [22nd Feb 2013]  permitted Italian marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, accused in the case of the killing of two fishermen in Kerala, to visit their country to vote in the February 24 and 25 elections.  Newspaper reports state that the  three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen, while granting the permission on an application from the marines and the Italian government, questioned the Union government why it was “dragging its feet” on setting up a special court to conduct the trial. The Bench referred to the January 18 order directing the Centre to consult the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to set up a special court and questioned why no steps were taken in this regard.

The Bench, in a brief order, noted that under the Italian law, the marines were not entitled to cast their votes through postal ballot. The Bench made it clear that the marines were only being allowed to travel to Italy and they would have to return to India.

So Cochin in some way impacts the elections in  far off Italy…………….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Feb 2013.


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