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8 Former Indian Navy Personnel Sentenced to Death in Qatar

On Thursday, the Court of First Instance in Qatar declared that eight former members of the Indian Navy, who were held in Doha in August 2022 on suspicion of espionage, would be executed. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) responded to the judgment with strong words,. Expressing “deep shock” and reaffirming that it will offer all consular and legal support as well as look into all avenues to save the veterans.

MEA on the Death Penalty of 8 Former Indian Navy in Qatar

The MEA said in a news statement today. “We have preliminary information that the Court of First Instance of Qatar has today passed a judgment in the case involving 8 Indian employees of Al Dahra company.”

“We are awaiting the whole verdict and are really surprised by the death sentence ruling. Indeed investigating all legal alternatives and keeping in contact with the family and the legal team,” the statement said. Notably, Qatari officials chose not to make public the allegations against the Indian nationals.

Who are the 8 Indians Sentenced in Qatar?

8 Former Indian Navy Personnel Sentenced to Death in Qatar

Eight former members of the Indian Navy have been held in Qatar since August 8, 2022, on charges of espionage pertaining to a submarine program. On August 30, 2022, the Qatari intelligence agency detained the former Indian Navy officers: Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Rajesh.

The Indian nationals had been allowed consular access to New Delhi. Which was however making serious efforts to gain their release. Late March of this year saw the commencement of the Indian nationals’ first trial.

Sister of a Navy Officer Sought PM’s Intervention

One of the arrested officers’ sisters, Meetu Bhargava, indeed contacted the administration to ask for help in retrieving her brother. She appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to step in through X in a public statement on June 8.

“These Ex-Navy officers are the pride of the nation & again I request our Hon’ble Prime Minister with folded hands that it is high time that they all are brought back to India immediately without any further delay pl [sic]”, stated Meetu Bhargava.

What did MEA say?

In December of last year, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar stated that the Indian government. They however maintain continuous communication with the government of Qatar. Assuring them that the officers are a top concern for the nation as well.

“This situation is really delicate. Our first priority is their interests. Senior officials and ambassadors communicate with Qatar’s government on a regular basis. They are our first priority, we promise,” Jaishankar had remarked.

Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for the MEA, also emphasized at the same time that although the embassy is actively investigating the matter. India routinely responds to cases involving former Indian Navy members detained in Qatar.

8 Former Indian Navy Personnel Sentenced to Death in Qatar

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