HomeIndian DefenceQatar commutes death sentence of former Indian Navy personnel

Qatar commutes death sentence of former Indian Navy personnel

New Delhi: Qatar on Thursday commuted the death sentence awarded to eight former Indian Navy officers over charges of “espionage”, in what can be seen as a significant development in bilateral relationship.

India in its reaction to the development stated that it has noted the verdict of the Court of Appeal of Qatar reducing the death penalty. The detailed judgement is awaited and the government is in close touch with the legal team as well as the family members of the accused to decide on the next steps, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

The government had put in place a diplomatic exercise involving several measures, including engaging interlocutors in Qatar, to safeguard its nationals, ET has learnt. Last month, the prime minister met the Qatar Emir in Dubai following which the Indian envoy to Doha got consular access to the eight Indians.


A court in Qatar in October had sentenced 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 Ragesh to death after finding them guilty of “spying for Israel” while working for a private company, Al Dahra, on a naval project in Qatar. They were arrested on August 30, 2022, and the company was subsequently shut down.

“Our ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities,” the MEA said.

Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of proceedings of this case, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture, the ministry added.

Last month India filed an appeal against the death penalty awarded by the Qatari court.

ET reported in October that among the options that India was exploring included the possibility of royal pardon from the royalty including the Qatar Emir for the accused. Qatar does not have a widespread record of executions of people lodged in its jails.



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