The eight Indian Navy veterans who were sentenced to death in Qatar were released on Monday, February 12. (Image: ANI)
The eight former Indian Navy officials were imprisoned in Qatar since 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on the country’s submarine programme
In a big diplomatic win for India, the eight Indian Navy veterans who were sentenced to death in Qatar were released on Monday, February 12. Seven of the eight have returned to India, the Ministry of External Affairs informed.
“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 External Affairs Ministry said in the statement.
The seven Navy veterans, who returned to India on Monday, are: Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal, and Sailor Ragesh. They were working for a private company named Dahra Global company.
These former Navy officials were imprisoned in Qatar since 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on the country’s submarine programme. As per the reports, the ex-officers were in Qatar to assist with the introduction of Italian U212 stealth submarines into the Qatari Emiri Naval Force.
Brief Timeline of The Case
August 30, 2022: Eight former Navy officials were arrested in Qatar for unknown reasons. The officers were placed in solitary confinement. Reports suggested that they were arrested by Qatar’s intelligence agency on accusation of spying.
October 1-3, 2022: The Indian Ambassador in Doha and Deputy Head of Mission met the former Navy personnel. Meanwhile, the CEO of Dahra Global also tried to help the officials but got arrested. He spent two months in solitary confinement, however, was released on bail later.
March 1, 2023: Multiple bail pleas of the veterans were rejected in Qatar.
March 25, 2023: Charges were filed against the eight individuals and trial, following Qatari law, began on March 29.
May 2023: Dahra Global closed its operations in Doha. Following the company’s shutdown in the capital city of Qatar, its former employees, mostly Indians, returned home.
August 4, 2023: The arrested men were moved from solitary confinement to a jail ward.
October 26, 2023: All eight men were sentenced to death by a court in Qatar.
November 9, 2023: Indian authorities informed that an appeal has been filed in Qatar regarding the release and death penalty awarded to the eight former Navy personnel.
November 23, 2023: The Qatar court accepted India’s appeal against the death penalty.
December 1, 2023: PM Modi met Qatar Amir in Dubai.
December 28, 2023: Qatar court overturned the death sentence awarded to the eight Indian Navy veterans.
February 12, 2024: The Government of India announced the release of all eight former army officers and thanked Qatar Amir for facilitating their release. Seven of the eight veterans arrived in India.