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Business News/ News / World/  Qatar frees 8 ex- Navy veterans jailed on espionage charges; 7 return to India | Video
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Qatar frees 8 ex- Navy veterans jailed on espionage charges; 7 return to India | Video

Of the eight former Navy officers, seven have already returned to India, the MEA informed through an official statement on Monday. The releasing of the Indian Navy veterans and freeing them of espionage charges marks a significant diplomatic breakthrough between India and Qatar.

The released Indian Navy veterans return to India. The capital punishment meted out to the Indian Navy veterans was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New DelhiPremium
The released Indian Navy veterans return to India. The capital punishment meted out to the Indian Navy veterans was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi

Qatar has released eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death on espionage charges. Seven of the eight former Indian Navy personnel have now returned to India. The capital punishment meted out to the Indian Navy veterans was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi.

The releasing of the Indian Navy veterans and freeing them of espionage charges marks a significant diplomatic breakthrough between India and Qatar.

One of the Navy veterans who returned from Qatar said, “We are very happy that we are back in India, safely. Definitely, we would like to thank PM Modi, as this was only possible because of his personal intervention. And it also happened due to the continuous efforts of the Government of India."

Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.

Another released Indian Navy veteran said, “We waited almost for 18 months to be back in India. We are extremely grateful to the PM. It wouldn't have been possible without his personal intervention and his equation with Qatar. We are grateful to the Government of India from the bottom of our hearts for every effort that has been made and this day won't have been possible without those efforts."

Of the eight former Navy officers, seven have already returned to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed through an official statement on Monday.

The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, “The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals."

The eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. The Navy veterans were on October 26 given death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance. The sentence had later been reduced to jail terms.

The Indian nationals, who worked with private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage.

All of the former Navy officers had "unblemished stints" of upto 20 years in the Indian Navy and had held important positions including that of instructors in the force.

In May Al-Dhara Global closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai and discussed bilateral partnership and the "well-being of the Indian community" living in Qatar.

The MEA's legal team possesses the confidential court order detailing the commutation of the death sentences to imprisonment terms, a move revealed in a press release following the court of appeal's judgement on December 28.

Moreover, the Court of First Instance of Qatar had also passed the judgement against them, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The MEA spokesperson also highlighted the recent meeting that took place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad and said that they have had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship.

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Published: 12 Feb 2024, 06:16 AM IST
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