A Qatari court has accepted India’s appeal against the death penalty handed down last month to eight former Indian Navy crew members for allegedly engaging in espionage. According to sources, the Qatari court is expected to set a date for hearing the appeal once it has reviewed the case.
Qatar’s intelligence agency reportedly arrested the eight men in August 2022 for spying. The Qatari authorities have not yet made public the charges against them. In Qatar, the Court of First Instance rejected their bail petitions several times and pronounced a verdict against them last month.
Indian authorities have been working to secure their release since they were granted consular access to them. As a result of the sensitive nature of the case, the Ministry of External Affairs has urged everyone to refrain from “engaging in speculation.”
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 are among the veterans of the Indian Navy who have been detained.
With a stellar service record spanning up to 20 years in the Indian Navy, all of the former Navy officers have held significant roles, including instructor in the force.
Meeting Bhargava, the sister of one of the detained former officers, had requested government assistance in bringing her brother back. On June 8, she appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
In her post, addressed to PM Modi and Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, she wrote, “These former Navy officers are the pride of the nation & I again request with folded hands that they all be brought back to India without further delay.”