MEA to Discuss Next Steps as Qatar Reduces Sentences for Indian Navy Personnel

Following the reduction of the sentences of eight former Indian Navy personnel by the Court of Appeal of Qatar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on December 29 that discussions would take place with the legal team and the families of the convicted individuals. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, quoted by news agency ANI, emphasized the need for caution in speculation and reiterated the primary concern for the welfare of Indians and their families.

Bagchi addressed queries regarding the Qatar court’s decision to commute the death sentences, stating, “The sentences have been reduced, but I don’t have any additional information to share until we see the detailed judgment.” He stressed the MEA’s commitment to the interests of Indians and their families, pledging discussions on the next steps with the legal team and the families.

On Thursday, the Qatar Court commuted the death penalty of the eight former Indian Navy personnel involved in the Dahra Global case, replacing it with jail terms. The MEA took note of the verdict and awaited the detailed judgment, staying in close contact with the legal team and families to determine the next course of action.

The MEA’s release stated, “Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members.” It emphasized continuous support for the individuals since the case’s inception, promising consular and legal assistance. Due to the case’s confidential and sensitive nature, the MEA refrained from making further comments at the moment.

The eight Indian nationals, retired naval personnel, were accused of spying on a submarine program and have been imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022. Bagchi acknowledged the existence of a treaty on the transfer of sentenced persons between India and Qatar, stating that the agreement’s enforcement would be confirmed through verification. He noted the need to check whether Qatar had ratified the agreement for it to be in force.

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