Thursday, June 20, 2024

Qatar court commutes Navy personnel’s sentence

In a significant development, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that the court of appeal in Qatar has reduced the sentences for eight retired Indian Navy personnel, originally sentenced to death on spying charges. The individuals, working for a defense services provider company in Qatar, were taken into custody in 2022. The revised sentences now involve jail terms, with the duration varying based on the charges against each person.

The MEA stated that it will continue addressing the matter with Qatari authorities, maintaining close contact with the legal team and family members to determine the next steps. The individuals, including decorated officers who commanded major Indian warships, were identified as 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. The charges against them were not publicly disclosed by Qatari authorities.

While the reduction in sentences is significant, top government sources emphasized that this decision requires confirmation from the constitutional bench. The government remains hopeful for relief and plans to appeal to the higher court, presenting evidence in support of the Indian nationals. Efforts will also be made through diplomatic channels to seek a compassionate view from Qatari authorities.

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