NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s top court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by an Italian marine facing murder charges to stay in his home country for four more months to undergo medical treatment, a decision which angered Italy’s president.
Massimiliano Latorre, who suffered a stroke in August, is one of two Italian marines accused over the 2012 shooting of two fishermen mistakenly believed to be pirates, in a case that has soured ties between New Delhi and Rome.
The Supreme Court had allowed Latorre, 47, to return to Italy in September for four months of medical treatment. He sought to double that extension in his latest plea to undergo treatment that includes heart bypass surgery.
“The plea of the accused is dismissed,” Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu said.
He also dismissed a separate plea by the second Italian marine accused in the case, Salvatore Girone, to return to Italy for Christmas.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said he was “very irritated by the news from New Delhi”, according to a statement from his office.
Following international pressure, India dropped a plan to prosecute the marines under a tough new anti-piracy law. Italy says the incident occurred in international waters and that jurisdiction over the marines should lie with Rome.
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.
Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty and Steve Scherer; Writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Robert Birsel and Dominic Evans