8 Indian Navy personnel granted death sentence by Qatar Court, MEA extending legal assistance
By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 26, Oct 2023, 18:45 pm IST | UPDATED: 26, Oct 2023, 20:02 pm IST
In a verdict a Qatar court has granted death sentence to 8 Indian Navy personnel working in Doha. These former Navy personnel were arrested in August last year by Qatari authorities. Their charges of arrest were not made known to the public. It has been a matter of concern for Indian authorities and media since then.
In response to the verdict MEA has expressed shock. Issuing a statement MEA said, 'We have initial information that the Court of First Instance of Qatar has today passed a judgement 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 judgement.'
It further said, 'We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options. We attach high importance to this 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.'
Refraining from commenting MEA release said, 'Due to the confidential nature of proceedings of this case, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.'
Congress Party Spokesperson Jairam Ramesh in a tweet said, 'The Indian National Congress has noted with the greatest anguish, distress and shock the most disturbing developments in Qatar regarding 8 former officers of the Indian Navy. It hopes and expects that the Govt of India will use its diplomatic and political leverage with the Qatar government to the maximum to ensure that the officers have full recourse to appeals and also do the utmost to get them released at the earliest. '
The men have been held in solitary confinement, and there is no public information of the charges against them. Their families have been urging New Delhi to secure their expeditious release. As per Qatar authorities they were involved in easpionage activities.
These former Navy personnel were arrested by the Qatari intelligence agency, State Security Bureau, on the night of August 30, 2022. It was in mid September that the Indian Embassy first learnt about the arrests. On September 30, the men were allowed 'brief telephonic contact' with family members. The first consular access — a visit by an official of the Indian embassy — was granted on October 3, more than a month after they were taken into custody. Since then, they have been allowed weekly phone calls to family members.