India's ambassador to Qatar meets 8 ex-Indian Navy personnel on death row

Team India Sentinels Thursday 7th of December 2023 06:19 PM

(Photo for representation.)

New Delhi: The Qatar government allowed the Indian ambassador to the emirate to meet all the eight former Indian Navy sailors who have been sentenced to death by a Qatari court in October for purported espionage, India’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. On Sunday, December 3, India’s ambassador, Vipul, met the death-row inmates in a Qatari prison after the emirate allowed the Indian embassy in Doha to get access to the prisoners to give them legal and consular assistance.

During an interaction with reporters on Thursday in New Delhi, the foreign ministry spokesman, Arindam Bagchi, said, “I think the next hearing is coming up soon. We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance (to the eight former Indian Navy officers incarcerated in Qatar).”

Updating the media and the country, Bagchi also said, “There have been two hearings. … from the families and the detainees. Two hearings have since been held. We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance. Meanwhile, our ambassador got consular access to meet all eight of them in prison on December 3. This is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so.”

Insinuating that New Delhi was trying to resolve this issue at the highest level, Bagchi also said the prime minister, Narendra Modi, met Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, in Dubai on the sidelines of COP28 and had a positive conversation about bilateral relations.

This is seen as a positive move towards saving the lives of the former Indian Navy personnel who were caught in an espionage case while working with a Qatar-based private maritime technology company named Dahra Global Technologies, as India Sentinels reported earlier.

It may be mentioned that a Qatari court of first instance sentenced the eight former Navy officers to death after a secret trial, whose details have not been made public. According to reports, they were charged with spying for Israel and divulging information regarding a super-secret midget-submarine project that Qatar was working on with Italian technology. Such submarines are usually used by special forces for commando operations and special missions.

The former Navy officers who are facing execution are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh.

Along with them, Qatar charged two Qataris in this case. They are former Oman air force officer Khamis al-Ajmi, who is also the CEO of Dahra Global, and the head of Qatar’s international military operations, Major General Tariq Khalid Al Obaidly. India Sentinels is not aware about the Qatari nationals’ status now.


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