Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has justified government's decision of dropping of anti-piracy charges against two Italian marines, under the stringent Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Maritime Navigation Act (SUA), 2002.
Asked about why the central governments had not imposed international anti-piracy law on the Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in 2012, Shinde said the law was usually applied in cases of militant attacks and killing of fishermen does not come under such category.
"SUA (Suppression of Unlawful Act) is usually applied for the terrorists and if you see the reports also…as per the opinion of law and the higher officials, the Italian marines case doesn't come under SUA", Shinde told media here yesterday on the sidelines of inauguration of a Border Security Force (BSF) unit near Nadapuram, about 70 km away from Kozhikode.
Shinde further said let the court decide first and then the government would explain how all charges under SUA were dropped.
"As far as the incident is concerned, everyone has taken cognizance of it. The only act they should be prosecuted under is a question mark. Let the court decide", he said.
The Centre withdrew anti-piracy charges in the Supreme Court against the two Italian marines, charged with the killing of fishermen, an incident that soured diplomatic relations between both the countries.
This will rule out the chances of death penalty for the two marines who are facing trial for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast in February 2012.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, part of a military security team protecting a cargo ship off the coast of Kerala, say they thought the fishermen were pirates and fired shots to warn them off.