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Indian Ex-Naval Officers Face Death Sentence in Qatar

Indian Ex-Naval Officers Face Death Sentence in Qatar

Indian Ex-Naval Officers Face Death Sentence in Qatar

Indian Ex-Naval Officers Face Death Sentence in Qatar

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  • India explores legal options over death sentences for eight ex-naval officers in Qatar.
  • Charges, related to alleged espionage, remain undisclosed.
  • Indian government expresses shock and emphasizes case’s significance.
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India is actively considering all legal avenues following the death sentences handed down to eight former Indian naval officers by a Qatari court on undisclosed charges.

These individuals, employed by a private firm in Qatar, were detained under suspicion of espionage last year. The precise nature of the charges remains undisclosed by both Qatar and India. In response, the Indian government expressed profound shock and pledged to address the verdict with Qatari officials. India’s foreign ministry, in a statement, emphasized the case’s significance and noted its anticipation of the detailed judgment.

“We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” the ministry said, adding that it would not make further comment right now because of the “confidential nature of proceedings of this case”.

While the official statement identifies these individuals as employees of a private company named Al Dahra, they have widely been reported as former members of the Indian Navy. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar referred to them as “ex-servicemen” in a parliamentary session last year. Some of the men’s families have also corroborated their Navy backgrounds to local media.

Despite generating significant attention in India when they were arrested in August last year, there has been limited confirmed information regarding the charges against them. According to The Hindu newspaper, the men were purportedly accused of “breaching sensitive secrets,” though neither government has confirmed this allegation. The BBC has sought clarification from the Qatar embassy, although independent verification of these claims remains pending.

Experts say the recent diplomatic tensions could impact relations between the two countries. “There are over 700,000 Indians in Qatar and we have close economic ties. The Indian government has been following the case closely without doubt, but would need to take it up at the highest level to ensure their lives are saved,” Former Indian ambassador to Qatar, Deepa Gopalan, told The Hindu.

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In December, Mr. Jaishankar told parliament that the government was in constant touch with Qatar over the “very sensitive case”.

“Their interests are foremost in our minds. Ambassadors and senior officials are in constant touch with Qatar’s govt. We assure, they’re our priority,” he said.

The Gulf region is home to millions of Indian residents, with tens of thousands engaged in low-wage, semi-skilled, and unskilled employment. These migrant workers have made significant contributions to the economies of Gulf Arab nations and represent a crucial source of remittances sent back to India.

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