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India top court allows Italian marine to extend visit home

April 9, 2015

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s top court on Thursday granted an Italian marine’s request to extend his medical leave in Italy before he and a fellow marine face charges over the 2012 shooting of two Indian fishermen.

Massimiliano Latorre asked the Supreme Court to prolong his stay in Italy after he developed complications following heart surgery in January.

The court had in January given Latorre until April 13 to recuperate in Italy, and on Thursday, Judge A.R. Dave allowed him to remain until July 15.

The court also set a hearing in the last week of April, saying the case had to be expedited.

The drawn-out case has soured relations between Italy and India because the two marines have been held in India for more than three years without formal charges.

Indian authorities have defended the delay, saying charges cannot be filed without both men being present in India. They have also blamed the delays on uncertainty over which law should be used to prosecute the marines, as well as on the failure of witnesses who had been aboard the cargo ship to return to India to give testimony.

Latorre and Salvatore Girone were providing security aboard a cargo ship in February 2012 when they opened fire on a fishing boat they mistook for a pirate craft and killed two Indian fishermen.

Latorre has been in Italy since September undergoing medical treatment after suffering a stroke.

The men have been on bail while living and working in the Italian Embassy in New Delhi.

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