NEW DELHI (AP) — India's Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed an Italian marine involved in the shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen in 2012 to stay in Italy until April 30.
Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were assigned to anti-piracy duty aboard an Italian oil tanker off India's coast at the time of the shootings.
The men were detained and had to stay in India without formal charges, but were allowed to return temporarily to Italy to vote in 2013 elections. Latorre was allowed to travel home for medical treatment in September after suffering a stroke, while Girone is still in India.
Latorre was supposed to return to India by Jan. 15.
The Italian Foreign Ministry, however, said in a statement Wednesday that Latorre will remain in Italy until the outcome of international arbitration in the case, citing an order by the International Tribunal for the Sea stating that India and Italy should suspend all internal judicial actions while the arbitration is pending.
"On the bases of that order, the government retains that any decision by the Indian Supreme Court relative to rifleman Latorre is precluded, and that he therefore can remain in Italy for the entire arbitration procedure," the ministry said.
In New Delhi, the Supreme Court asked the Indian government to explain when the arbitration panel would rule on the dispute, and also asked Italy to explain how long Latorre's medical treatment would take.
Italy argues the shooting occurred in international waters, that the fishermen were mistaken for pirates, and that the case should be heard in an Italian court. New Delhi insists it has jurisdiction and wants to charge both marines with murder.
Italy took the case to international arbitration last June.
Associated Press writer Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy, contributed to this report.