Qatar releases eight Indian ex-Navy prisoners on espionage allegations.
Qatari authorities opted not to publicly disclose the charges against the former Indian Navy officers involved.
As reported by India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Monday, seven of the eight individuals, who had been sentenced to death by a local court in Qatar three months prior, have now been released from custody and repatriated to India.
Notably, the eighth individual, ex-Commander Purnendu Tiwari, while having his death sentence commuted, still faces a severe penalty of a 25-year life term. However, it is anticipated that he will also return to India imminently.
The Indian government has released Indian people linked to the Dahra Global Corporation from Qatari custody, according to a statement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. The government has also taken note of the Amir of Qatar's intention to help arrange for their release and return home.
Last December, the appellate court in Qatar made the decision to commute the death sentences initially handed down to the eight former Indian Navy personnel. In August 2022, Qatari authorities detained these individuals who worked for the Doha-based Dahra Global. Although Qatari authorities withheld the specifics of the allegations against them, reports from publications like the Financial Times suggested that they were facing espionage charges on behalf of Israel.
Following discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani during the COP28 summit in Dubai on December 1, consular access was granted to the Indian ambassador in Doha. This access, along with subsequent commutations, occurred against the backdrop of discussions on bilateral cooperation and the welfare of the Indian community in Qatar. This diplomatic exchange was widely interpreted as addressing the situation concerning the eight former Indian Navy personnel who had been sentenced to death.
During their stay in Qatar, the eight people who worked for Dahra Global to oversee the introduction of an Italian small stealth submarine known as U2I2 were performing private duties.