India court allows Italian marines to go home to vote

Italian marines Latore Massimiliano, left and Salvatore Girone arrive to appear before a court in Kollam in southern Kerala state, India, Monday, April 30, 2012. The two marines were allowed to go home during Christmas for two weeks

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India's Supreme Court has allowed two Italian marines, charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen, to travel home to vote in the forthcoming elections there.

The court ruled that Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone must return to India after four weeks.

Last month, the court rejected a bid by the Italian government to transfer their case to Italy.

The jailing of the marines has led to a diplomatic row between India and Italy.

The Italians are accused of shooting the fishermen dead last February after allegedly mistaking them for pirates.

At the time the marines were guarding an Italian oil tanker off India's south-western coast.

Italy says that the Indian fishing boat had behaved aggressively and ignored warning shots from their ship, the oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie.

But India says the fishermen, Selestian Valentine and Ajesh Pinky, were unarmed.

The marines have been out on bail and awaiting their trial. The Supreme Court last month said they would be tried in a special court in Delhi.

Italy wanted the men to be tried in Italy and said the incident took place in international waters.

The Supreme Court had earlier allowed the marines to go home for Christmas for two weeks.

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