Qatar releases eight ex-Navy veterans, seven back in India: MEA

NEW DELHI: The

ministry of external affairs

(MEA) on Monday announced the release of eight ex-Indian

Navy

veterans, who were initially sentenced to death in

Qatar

. The capital punishment was later converted to prolonged prison terms through diplomatic interventions by New Delhi.
The Indian government expressed gratitude for the release of the eight nationals working for Dahra Global in Qatar, with seven of them having already returned to India.

The MEA acknowledged and appreciated the decision made by the Amir of the State of Qatar, facilitating the release and return of these individuals.
Amidst fervent appeals from the anxious families of the Navy veterans for their release and safe return to India, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) assured to utilize all diplomatic channels and provide legal assistance. As of Monday, seven out of the eight

ex-Navy

officers have already returned to India, according to an official statement from the MEA.

The Indian government expressed appreciation for the decision to release the veteran officers, stating, “The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.”
The eight Indian nationals had been held in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of spying on a submarine program. The Qatar court had initially sentenced them to death on undisclosed charges. However, the Qatari Court later commuted the death penalty to jail terms.

The MEA confirmed that it is awaiting the detailed judgment in the case and is closely coordinating with the legal team in Qatar. The Ministry emphasized its ongoing support for the affected individuals and vowed to continue providing consular and legal assistance, pledging to pursue the matter with Qatari authorities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed bilateral relations and the well-being of the Indian community in Qatar during a meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the COP28 summit in Dubai.
The newly appointed spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs highlighted the temporal significance, mentioning a 60-day appeal window in the Court of Cassation, Qatar’s highest court. The MEA’s legal team possesses the confidential court order detailing the commutation of death sentences to imprisonment, with varying durations for each individual.
The MEA spokesperson also noted a recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, highlighting their positive discussions on overall bilateral relations.

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