Indian Envoy Meets Ex-Navy Men on Death Row in Qatar


India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that since the detainees filed an appeal, two hearings have already been held…reports Asian Lite News

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said that India’s Ambassador in Qatar had consular access on December 3 to meet all eight ex-Navy personnel in prison who were sentenced to death in Qatar and two hearings have been held on their appeal.

In a weekly media briefing on Thursday, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said that since the detainees filed an appeal, two hearings have already been held.

“There have been two hearings. We filed an appeal, with the families, and the detainees had a final appeal. Two hearings have since been held. One was on November 30th and the other was on November 23rd. I think the next hearing is coming up soon,” Bagchi said.

The eight Indians are former Indian Navy personnel who were detained in Qatar for over a year. They were sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance in October, 2023.

Sharing the update on the case further, the MEA spokesperson said that it is a sensitive issue and India is extending all legal and consular assistance.

“We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance. Meanwhile, our ambassador got consular access to meet all eight in prison on December 3. And, as I said, this is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so,” he added.

The MEA spokesperson also highlighted the recent meeting that took place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad and said that they have had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship.

“You would have seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet the Emir of Qatar in Dubai on the sidelines of COP28 …I think he put out a tweet. My understanding is that we have had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship as well as the well-being of the Indian community,” Bagchi said further.

On October 30, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with the families of eight Indians detained in Qatar and assured them that the government would make all efforts to secure their release.

The EAM said that the government attaches the “highest importance” to the case and will coordinate closely with the families in that regard.

The eight Indian nationals have been 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.

New Delhi had been granted consular access to the eight Indians and had been working to secure their release. The Indian nationals had their first trial in late March.

The Court of First Instance of Qatar passed the judgement against them, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Qatar has also yet to provide details of the charges against the former Naval officers, nor has the order of the Court of First instance been shared with the families of the former Naval officers.


LS Adjournment Notices to Discuss Qatar

Congress Member of Parliament Manish Tewari has given notice of his intention to ask for leave to move a motion for the adjournment of the business of the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent importance, namely, the imprisonment of retired Indian navy personnel in Qatar.

“That this House do suspend Zero Hour, Question Hour, and other Businesses of the Day to have a discussion regarding the retired-Indian navy personnel imprisoned in Qatar. Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh, were sentenced by the Qatari court on October 26, 2023, ” read the letter from the Congress MP.

In a letter to the Secretary-General of Lok Sabha, Tewari stated that the eight retired navy personnel were sentenced to death by the Qatari court on October 26, 2023. He further stated that he has been constantly raising this matter since August 2022 both inside and outside the House but the response of the Government has been – NO RESPONSE for -14 months.

Tewari also alleged that the eight navy personnel have been brutally tortured, self-incriminating confessions extracted, and sentenced to death in a Kangaroo Trail in a couple of perfunctory hearings. He further stated that the Government has not even called in the Qatari Ambassador to protest the matter strongly.

Tewari urged the government to inform the House of the situation about the navy personnel in Qatar and the steps taken to bring them back to India. (ANI)

ALSO READ-Qatar’s Global Clout Soars in Diplomatic Arenas

READ MORE-Biden lauds role of Qatar, Egypt in Israel ceasefire

[mc4wp_form id=""]