Italy is asking an international arbitration panel to order India to free a marine who has been detained since 2012 because of his alleged involvement in the shooting deaths of two fishermen during an anti-piracy operation.

Italy's ambassador to the Netherlands, Francesco Azzarello, on Wednesday told the Permanent Court of Arbitration that Sgt. Salvatore Girone should be allowed to return home immediately, saying "he is obliged to live thousands of kilometers away from his country and family, with two children still at a tender age."

Girone and Massimiliano Latorre were assigned to anti-piracy duty aboard an Italian oil tanker off India's coast at the time.

The men were detained and had to stay in India without formal charges. Latorre has since been allowed home after suffering a stroke.