Italian marines accused of killing Indians to return to India-statement

ROME Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:58pm EDT

Italian sailors Massimiliano Latorre (L) and Salvatore Girone wait to board an elevator to reach the police commissioner's office in the southern Indian city of Kochi December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Sivaram V

Italian sailors Massimiliano Latorre (L) and Salvatore Girone wait to board an elevator to reach the police commissioner's office in the southern Indian city of Kochi December 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sivaram V

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ROME (Reuters) - Two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while on anti-piracy duty will return to India on Friday, the Italian government said in a statement, reversing a previous decision not to send them back to face trial after a home visit.

"The Italian government requested and received written assurances from the Indian authorities regarding the treatment of the marines and the protection of their fundamental rights," the government said in a statement.

The Italian Foreign Ministry sparked fury in India earlier in March when they said the marines would not return to India after they were granted a home visit to allow them to vote in last month's election.

India's Supreme Court subsequently ordered the Italian envoy not to leave the country, escalating a stand-off between the two countries.

(Reporting By Catherine Hornby)

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