8 former Indian Navy officers get death penalty in Qatar

New Delhi: Eight former officers of the Indian Navy have been handed death penalty in Qatar following allegations ofspying for Israel, sources said.Calling the judgement”shocking”, the foreign ministry said it would not comment muchon the case given the”confidential nature ofproceedings” but assured that itwould contest the case.The men, including decoratedofficers who once commandedmajor Indian warships, wereworking for Dahra GlobalTechnologies and ConsultancyServices, a private firm thatprovided training and relatedservices to Qatar’s armed forces.Sources said some of them wereworking on a highly sensitiveproject — Italian technologybasedmidget submarines withstealth characteristics.The men have been in jail sinceAugust 2022. Granted consularaccess to them, New Delhi has been working to secure their release. The men went to trial inMarch. Their bail pleas were rejected numerous times and theirdetention extended by Qatari authorities. Today, the Court ofFirst Instance of Qatar passed a judgement. Those sentencedare Capt Navtej Singh Gill, Capt Birendra Kumar Verma, CaptSaurabh Vasisht, Cdr Amit Nagpal, Cdr Purnendu Tiwari, CdrSugunakar Pakala, Cdr Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh. “Weare deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and areawaiting the detailed judgement. We are in touch with the familymembers and the legal team, and we are exploring all legaloptions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “We attachhigh importance to this case, and have been following it closely.We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance.We will also take up the verdict withQatariauthorities,”theministrystatement read. Meetu Bhargava, sister of one theformer officers detained, had sought help from the governmentto bring her brother back. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, onJune 8, she had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi tointervene. “These Ex Navy officers are the pride of the nation &again I request our Prime Minister with folded hands that it ishigh time that they all are brought back to India immediatelywithout any further delay,” read her post, tagged to PM Modiand union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh.

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