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Indian Government Appeals Death Sentences for Navy Officers in Qatar

Photo: PTI

The Indian government has launched an appeal against the controversial death sentences handed down to eight former Navy officers in Qatar, as confirmed by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday.

“Qatar has a court of first instance that gave the judgement,” Bagchi said during a press conference. “The judgement is confidential and has been shared with the legal team. We are also in touch with Qatari authorities.”

The appeal follows the sentencing on October 26 by a Qatari court, with charges of espionage. The former officers, who were identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh, had been working for the private company Al Dahra, which provided training to the Qatari Navy.

The officers were arrested in August 2022, leading to shock and concern expressed by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. Bagchi stated, “We will remain engaged with the authorities in the matter,” highlighting the ongoing efforts to address the situation.

On October 30, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with the families of the detained veterans, assuring them that the Indian government attaches the highest importance to the case.

The Indian embassy in Doha first became aware of the navy veterans’ detention in September 2022. Consular access was granted in October and December of the same year, allowing for periodic visits and phone conversations with the detainees’ families.

The families of the retired officers continue to seek the assistance of the Indian government in securing the release and repatriation of their loved ones.

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