Explained: Case linked to Qatar court's death sentence to Indians | World News - Hindustan Times
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Explained: Case linked to Qatar court's death sentence to former Indian Navy personnel

Oct 26, 2023 06:19 PM IST

The eight men were working for a private firm when they were detained by the Qatari intelligence service in Doha in August last year.

A Qatar court on Thursday announced a death penalty to eight former Indian Navy personnel who have been detained in the country for over a year.

The men were working for a defence service provider organisation — Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services — owned by a retired member of the Royal Omani Air Force. (File)
The men were working for a defence service provider organisation — Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services — owned by a retired member of the Royal Omani Air Force. (File)

The eight men were working for a private firm when they were detained by the Qatari intelligence service in Doha in August last year.

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Indian ambassador in Qatar and his deputy met the men on October 1, before their seventh hearing on October 3, after they were granted consular access. Indian authorities have also been in constant touch with the families of the arrested men.

What is the case and who are the men?

The eight Navy veterans have been identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.

The men were working for a defence service provider organisation — Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services — owned by a retired member of the Royal Omani Air Force. The owner of the firm was also arrested along with the men but was released in November last year.

The private firm provided training and related services to Qatar’s armed forces.

The charges against them have not been made public by the Qatari government, which has led many to believe that it was a security-related matter. The charges have been mentioned in the hearing but neither the Qatari nor Indian government has made them public.

As per media reports, the men were charged with the offence of spying for Israel on Qatar's advanced submarines, which have stealth capabilities that make them harder to detect.

The men were held in solitary confinement for months at end since they were detained.

The Central government has long maintained that it was exploring legal channels to ensure the release of the arrested personnel.

What has the Indian government said?

The Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, “Verdict in the case of 8 Indians detained in Qatar: We are deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgement. 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”

Qatar's intelligence agency State Security Bureau arrested them and the Indian Embassy learnt about it mid-September. On September 30, the men were allowed to speak to their families briefly.

The first consular access was granted in October last year.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said recently that India was closely following the proceedings in the “court of first instance”.

Speaking about the charges, he said in mid-October, “Yes, the charges were presented as part of the hearings, but I wouldn’t like to get into the legal part of it…They have legal representation in court...we are now looking forward to what the court judgement is and we hope that they are able to return back to India."

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sanskriti Falor is a Senior Content Producer at the News Desk of HT Digital. Having worked in Digital Media for the past two years, she is interested in covering civic issues and global affairs.

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