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Qatar court releases 8 ex-Indian Navy personnel; seven back in India, says MEA

The Qatar court on Monday released all eight former Indian Navy personnel in its custody, out of which seven have returned to India, said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

External affairs ministry on release of ex-Indian Army personnel (File Photo)

In its official statement, the MEA welcomed the decision of the Qatar court to release the ex-Indian Navy men previously sentenced to death in the country, lauding their home-coming.

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The Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement, “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.”

Earlier, the capital punishment for the jailed Indian Navy veterans was commuted to an extended prison term after diplomatic talks between Qatar and India.

The prison term was also shortened after various kin of the jailed Indians approached the MEA, which in turn assured the use of all diplomatic channels and legal assistance to bring them back.

Out of the total eight former Indian Navy officers imprisoned in Qatar, seven have returned to India, said MEA in its statement. Arrangements are being made to bring the last released veteran home.

Why were ex-Indian Navy personnel jailed in Qatar

The eight Indian nationals, formerly Indian Navy personnel, were imprisoned n Qatar in October 2022 after being accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. They Indian nationals were deemed guilty of espionage by the Qatari court, and were sentenced to death on charges not yet made public.

The Ministry of External Affairs expressed that the ruling of the court was “deeply shocking”, and said that they would explore all legal options to get the charges against the former Indian Navy personnel dropped.

The Dahra Global case saw a major development last year when the court in Qatar commuted the death sentence of the Indian nationals after intervention by the India government. The sentence was reduced to jail terms.

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