8 ex-Indian Navy personnel awarded death penalty in Qatar; India to contest sentence

The men were charged with espionage: Report

Death-penalty-Indian-navymen Representational Image

Eight former Indian Navy personnel were sentenced to death by a court in Qatar on Thursday. The accused men have been detained in Qatar for over a year.

The Indian government expressed deep shock in the verdict and vowed to contest the sentencing in all possible legal ways to release its citizens. Reacting to the sentence, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said "We are deeply shocked by verdict of death penalty and are awaiting detailed judgement." 

"We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options," read the MEA statement. "We attach high importance to this case, and have been following it closely. We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities," it added.

Reportedly, the eight men were charged with espionage.

The eight men, including officers who have commanded major Indian warships, were working for Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a private firm that provided training and services to Qatar's armed forces.

Commander (retired) Purnendu Tiwari, who is among the detained Indians, served as Al Dahra's managing director and commanded several warships while serving with the navy. The rest of those convicted include Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Rahesh.

The bail pleas by the men were rejected multiple times and their detention was extended by Qatari authorities. Since August 2022 the men have been in jail. MEA has been working to secure their release since then. The trial began in March.

The Court of First Instance of Qatar has passed the judgement.

Earlier in June, Meetu Bhargava, sister of one of the former officers detained had sought the government's help to bring back her brother, reported NDTV.

"These Ex Navy officers are the pride of the nation and again I request our Hon'ble Prime Minister with folded hands that it is high time that they all are brought back to India immediately without any further delay," Bhargava wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 


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