Qatar frees 8 ex-Indian Navy veterans jailed on espionage charges

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In a major diplomatic triumph for India, eight veterans of the Indian Navy who were sentenced to death in Qatar, were released by Doha on Monday.

The capital punishment was commuted to an extended prison term earlier following diplomatic intervention by New Delhi.

Amid desperate pleas by the anxious kin of the Navy veterans to secure their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had assured that it would mobilise all diplomatic channels and arrange legal assistance to bring them back.

Of the eight former Navy officers, seven have already returned to India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) informed through an official statement on Monday.

The Union government released an official statement welcoming the decision to set the veteran officers free, saying, “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 eight Indian nationals were imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.

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Published: 12 Feb 2024, 06:16 AM IST

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