Fishermen paid damages, but Italian Marines face trial (Lead)

April 24th, 2012 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, April 24 (IANS) Italian authorities Tuesday handed over two demand drafts of Rs.1 crore each to the Lok Adalat as compensation to the families of two Indian fishermen shot dead by Italian Marines on Feb 15, following out of court settlements. But the Marines will continue to stand trial on criminal charges.

Last week, a vacation bench of the Kerala High Court referred the compensation claim of the two fishermen’s families to its Lok Adalat here.

The court took this step after Italian authorities and the fishermen’s families agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement.

Consequent to this agreement, the Italian authorities Tuesday handed over two demand drafts of Rs.1 crore each to the Lok Adalat, which will be given to the bereaved families of the two fishermen.

Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were apparently mistaken as pirates and shot dead by Italian Marines from aboard a cargo vessel Feb 15, off Alappuzha.

The Marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, were picked up from the vessel and sent by a court in Kollam to jail Feb 20 on murder charges. They are now lodged in the central prison in Thiruvananthapuram.

Consequent to the out-of-court agreement, Gelastine’s widow and two children would each get one-third share of Rs.1 crore and the two sisters of Binki would split Rs.1 crore equally.

With this, the families of the two fishermen agreed to withdraw all the cases filed in the high court and a court in Kollam, but the criminal case will stands, according to law.

The court also asked the Italian authorities on why they approached the apex court when the trial for quashing the first information report against the Marines is over and only the verdict is pending.

Counsel for the Italians said they moved the Supreme Court because this was a case involving two nations.

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