According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the eight former naval officers who were being held in Doha have been sentenced to death by the Court of First Instance of Qatar. The MEA expressed its “deep shock” at the decision and stated that it is currently awaiting the full judgment.
In an official press release, the MEA stated, “We have initial information that the Court of First Instance of Qatar has passed a judgement in the case involving 8 Indian employees of Al Dahra company today.”
“We are incredibly shocked by the death penalty verdict and are waiting for the complete ruling. We are keeping in touch with the family and the legal team while looking into all available legal options,” the statement said.
The MEA declared that this issue is very important to them and that they have been closely monitoring it. We have been closely monitoring this case because we believe it to be very important. We will continue to offer all legal and consular assistance. As mentioned in the MEA release, “We will also discuss the verdict with Qatari authorities.”
It continued, “It would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture due to the confidential nature of the proceedings of this case.”
The eight Indian nationals were detained in October 2022 and held in a prison in Qatar on charges that they were spying on a submarine program.
New Delhi, which was trying to set up their release, had allowed consular access for the eight Indians. The Indian nationals’ first trial was held in late March. Meetu Bhargava, a Gwalior resident and the sister of one of the officers in custody, requested help from the Indian government to free her brother.
On June 8, she had posted on X, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take over.
“@narendramodi @rajnathsingh @AmitShah @MOS_MEA, these ex-Navy officers are the pride of the country & again I request our Hon’ble Prime Minister with folded hands that it is high time that they are brought back to India immediately without any further delay pls.” On X, the woman wrote.