Qatar Acknowledges India’s Plea, Reverses Death Penalty Decision for Eight Navy Veterans

All of the officers have a distinguished service record of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy.

New Delhi: 

A Qatar court has accepted India’s appeal against the death penalty to eight former Indian Navy personnel, who were handed the sentence last month in an alleged case of espionage. Sources said that the Qatari court will set a hearing date after examining the appeal.

According to reports, the eight men were arrested in August 2022 by Qatar’s intelligence agency for spying. But the Qatari authorities haven’t made the charges against them public yet. Their bail petitions were rejected several times and the verdict against them was pronounced last month by the Court of First Instance in Qatar.

Having been granted consular access, Indian authorities are actively engaged in efforts to secure the release of the arrested Navy veterans in Qatar. The Ministry of External Affairs has emphasized the sensitivity of the case and urged the public to avoid engaging in speculation.

Among the detained Indian Navy veterans are Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, and Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar.

These former Navy officers boast distinguished service records spanning up to 20 years, holding key positions, including instructional roles within the force.

Meetu Bhargava, the sister of one of the detained officers, had appealed to the government for assistance in bringing her brother back. In a post on social media on June 8, she directly appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for intervention.

“These Ex-Navy officers are the pride of the nation & 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,” read her post, tagged to PM Modi and Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh

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