In a significant diplomatic victory, Qatar has released eight former Indian Navy personnel who were detained on alleged espionage charges.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India played a pivotal role in securing their release, following the commutation of death sentences initially imposed on the individuals, as per reports.
The veterans, reportedly employed by the Al Dahra Global Company, had been imprisoned since October 2022 on accusations of spying on a submarine program. However, the specific charges were not publicly disclosed due to the sensitive nature of the case. The Court of First Instance in Qatar had sentenced them to death on October 26, 2023, prompting India to explore all legal avenues to challenge the decision.
After intervention by the Indian government and a subsequent appeal, the Qatari court revised its ruling, reducing the death penalty to extended prison terms, as reported.
While the detailed judgment is still awaited, the Indian MEA reportedly remains in close contact with the legal team in Qatar to determine further steps in the case.
Notably, seven of the released Navy veterans have already returned to India, expressing heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his personal intervention and acknowledging the robust bilateral relationship with Qatar that lead to their release.
The names of the detained officials reportedly 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.
This development marks a diplomatic success for India and underscores the importance of strong bilateral ties in resolving international legal challenges.
The nation awaits further details as the legal proceedings continue to unfold.