A court in Qatar has handed down the death penalty to eight former Indian Navy personnel who have been detained in the country for over a year.
The Indian government expressed shock over the sentencing and vowed to explore all available legal options to secure the release of its citizens.
The eight men, including decorated officers who have commanded major Indian warships, were working for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private firm that provided training and related services to Qatars armed forces. Their bail pleas were rejected numerous times and their detention was extended by Qatari authorities.
‘We have initial 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 deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgment,’ the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.
‘We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,’ it added.
The ministry stressed that they attach high importance to the case and have been following it closely.
‘We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities,’ the ministry said, refusing to make any further comment at this juncture due to the confidential nature of the proceedings of the case.
People familiar with the matter recently told HT on condition of anonymity that the eight men have been charged with espionage. Qatari and Indian authorities have never provided details of the charges against the men, who were held in solitary confinement for long spells. The people further said an Indian journalist and his spouse were recently ordered by Qatari authorities to leave the country for reporting on the case.
The Indian nationals had their first trial in late March.
Meetu Bhargava, who is the sister of one the officers detained and lives in Gwalior, sought help from the Indian government to bring her brother back.
In a post on X on June 8, Bhargava had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
‘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. @narendramodi @AmitShah @rajnathsingh @MOS_MEA’ she posted on X.
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