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India seeks release of ex-navy personnel sentenced to death in Qatar

Delhi, 30 October, 2023 (GNP): India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, announced on Monday that India is committed to “making all efforts” to secure the release of eight former navy personnel who have been sentenced to death by a court in Qatar. The individuals are reportedly facing this sentence on charges of spying for Israel.

The Minister met with the families of the detained Indians and assured them that the government attaches the highest importance to their case. These eight individuals include former high-ranking and decorated officers, including captains who once commanded warships. They were arrested in Doha in August 2022.

Qatar has not officially commented on the case, and the specific charges against the individuals have not been publicly disclosed.

India’s Navy Chief, Admiral R. Hari Kumar, emphasized that every possible effort is being made by the government to secure relief for these personnel.

The revelation of their sentences only occurred last week when India’s foreign ministry expressed shock at the case.

The eight men were employed by Al Dahra, a Gulf-based company that offers complete support solutions to the aerospace, security, and defense sectors.

Also Read: Qatar sentences eight Indian nationals to death: Diplomatic tensions emerge

While some reports suggest they were accused of spying for Israel, these allegations have not been confirmed, and Israel’s government has not commented on the case.

The families of the detained individuals have expressed their concerns and refuted the spying allegations. Meetu Bhargava, the sister of one of the men, questioned the plausibility of her brother engaging in such activities at the age of 63. She has vowed to seek the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India’s foreign ministry previously stated that it would take up the verdict with Qatari authorities and would continue to extend all consular and legal assistance to the prisoners.

Qatar rarely carries out executions, and the country has stated that a death sentence is equivalent to a life sentence. Amnesty International reported an execution in 2020, ending a 20-year hiatus.

India shares historically friendly ties with Qatar, a key supplier of natural gas to India. More than two-thirds of Qatar’s 2.8 million population consists of migrant workers, and a significant number of them are Indian citizens.