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Our envoy met all 8 men on December 3: MEA on death penalty to ex-Indian Navy personnel

Last month, Qatar accepted India's appeal against the death penalty to 8 Navy veterans, who were charged with espionage for Israel. There have been a total of three hearings in the case at Qatar's Court of Appeal so far, with the Indian Ambassador assuring them of all legal assistance.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New Delhi Updated on: December 21, 2023 16:56 IST
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi
Image Source : MEA/YOUTUBE Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said that the case regarding the eight Indian Navy officials given a death sentence in Qatar is now being heard at the Qatari Court of Appeal and that the Indian envoy to Doha has received consular access to meet all the eight men on December 3.

"This case is now in the court of appeal. And, there have been 3 hearings in the Qatar Court of Appeal. Meanwhile, our ambassador in Doha got consular access to meet all 8 men on December 3rd. But beyond this, I don't have anything to share at this stage," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

There have been a total of three hearings in the case so far, after India filed an appeal from the families of the former Navy personnel. "We filed an appeal, from the families, and the detainees had a final appeal. 2 hearings have since been held. We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance... This is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so," said Bagchi earlier this month.

"You would have seen Prime Minister Modi meet Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, the Amir of Qatar in Dubai on the sidelines of CoP28. They've had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship as well as in the well-being of the Indian community...," Bagchi added.

Last month, Qatar accepted India's appeal against the death penalty to 8 Navy veterans, according to sources. The Indian nationals, who worked with private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage. Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public.

All of the former Navy officers had "unblemished stints" of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy and had held important positions including that of instructors in the force, former military officials had said. In May Al-Dhara Global closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home.

The eight Navy veterans, identified as 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—all former Indian Navy personnel—were sentenced to death on undisclosed charges.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Indian envoy meets 8 Navy veterans on death sentence in Qatar, all legal assistance extended: MEA

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