Rome, March 13: Public opinion in Italy on the two marines facing trial in India for mudering two fishermen, is solidly behind their nationals, Italian media reported Wednesday.
Seventy-two percent of respondents in a poll conducted by the news channel Sky Tg2 said they agreed with the Italian government’s decision not to send the marines back to India to stand trial, said the daily La Repubblica.
The Italian government Monday said the marines won’t return to India.
The Italian Navy website acknowledged the public support received by the two marines
“There have been many expressions of solidarity in this period ( for the marines) from people, who have given their solid support in various ways, thorugh e-mail or public demonstartions, ” the website statement said.
Turin-based daily La Stampa reported Italian defense ministry officials as saying they were happy with the decision not to send back the marines, who would now be rejoining their duties.
According to La Stampa, a key factor behind the Italian government’s decision was the delay in setting up the special court to try the marines as ordered by the Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court had, in January, rejected a bid by the Italian government to transfer the case to Italy and said the marines would be tried in a special court in Delhi.
The daily Il Manifesto, however, described the Italian move as “scandalous.”
The decision is scandalous “because the Italian government had given a formal undertaking that the two marines would return to stand trial under India law,” said Il Manifesto.
The left-wing Il Manifesto was also critical of the way the marines were given a hero’s welcome on their return.
“It is right to defend them (the accused marines) diplomatically. But to organise an escape is shameful,” said Il Manifesto.