India hopeful of ‘positive outcome’: MEA on appeal to free ex-navy men in Qatar

India Thursday said it is hopeful of a “positive outcome” to the appeal filed against the death sentence of eight former Indian Navy personnel by a Qatari court on undeclared charges, reported PTI

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian government is engaged with the Qatari authorities over the matter and is providing all legal and consular assistance to the Indian nationals.

The eight Indian nationals, including decorated officers who commanded frontline warships in the Indian Navy, were on October 26 given death sentence by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. The Indian government described the ruling as “deeply” shocking and vowed to explore all legal options in the case.

“This is a sensitive case and the case is currently in a legal process there. As we have mentioned, an appeal has been filed in Qatar’s Court of Appeal,” Bagchi told a regular media briefing.

“We are also engaged with the Qatari authorities on the matter, and we will continue to extend all legal and consular assistance,” he said.

“The appeal process is underway and we would hope for a positive outcome,” Bagchi said during the media briefing.

Bagchi said he was not aware of any decision by the Court of Appeal.

“I would again urge everyone not to engage in speculation considering the sensitive nature of the case, as well as the fact that the judgement in the entire process has been made confidential by the Qatari side,” the MEA spokesperson added.

The arrested Indians were identified as 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 – all ex-Indian Navy.

The eight sentenced Indian nationals were employees of a subsidiary of Oman-based Dahra Engineering & Security Services that provided training and other services to Qatar’s armed forces and security agencies. The subsidiary was shut down in May. The men were believed to have been overseeing the induction of Italian-made midget stealth submarines into the Qatari Navy.

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Updated: 16 Nov 2023, 10:53 PM IST

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