Indian court allows marine charged with murder to extend stay in Italy


India’s top court on Wednesday allowed one of two Italian marines facing murder charges to extend his stay in his home country after heart surgery, further delaying the start of a trial that strained diplomatic relations.

Massimiliano Latorre was granted permission to remain in Italy for a further three months, reversing a decision last month by the court that he needed to return.”He was advised by the doctors in Italy not to travel for three months and to take complete bed rest,” K.T.S. Tulsi, a lawyer for the marine, said.Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military security team protecting a privately owned cargo ship, say they mistook Indian fishermen for pirates and fired warning shots into the water during the incident in February 2012, off the southern Indian coast. Two fishermen were killed.

The marines’ arrest triggered a diplomatic rift between Rome and New Delhi as they presented different versions of the attack. Italy has argued that the men shot the two fishermen in self-defence and that the marines should be tried in their own country because the incident occurred in international waters.

Girone is in detention awaiting trial.

In April 2012, Rome paid $190,000 to each of the victims’ families as compensation. In return, the families dropped their cases against the marines, but the state’s case has yet to come to trial.