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Indian govt given a week to decide on prosecuting Italian marines for killing fishermen

Published on Feb 3, 2014 11:52 PM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's top court has given the government a week to decide if it will invoke a maritime security law that carries the death sentence against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen.

If India's government decides to use the legislation, it would go against its earlier assurances that the men would not face the gallows, seriously testing New Delhi's ties with both Rome and the European Union.

The sailors, part of a military security team protecting a cargo ship, say they mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots into the water during the incident in February 2012, off the coast of the southern state of Kerala.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are on bail but cannot leave India.

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