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Qatar releases 8 former Indian Navy prisoners; 7 return to India: MEA

Qatar released the imprisoned Indian Navy veterans after an 18-month jail term over alleged spying charges.

Qatar releases former Indian Navy prisoners / Facebook

In a significant diplomatic development, Qatar released the eight imprisoned Indian Navy veterans after an 18-month jail term over alleged spying charges.

"The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India," India's Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

"We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals," the ministry added without specifying the whereabouts of the eighth individual who did not return to New Delhi.

Why were the former Indian Navy personnel arrested?

Captains Navtej Singh Gill, Saurabh Vasisht, and Birendra Kumar Verma along with Commanders Purnendu Tiwari, Sugunakar Pakala, Sanjeev Gupta, Amit Nagpal, and Sailor Ragesh were arrested over alleged spying charges in August 2022 in the Middle Eastern Country.

They were employees of a Doha-based private firm, Dahra Global. IOct 2023 a Qatari court them to death prompting the Government of India to intervene. A statement from the MEA said they were "deeply shocked" by the verdict and would explore all legal options. 

In Dec 2023, a Qatar court decided to reduce the death sentences handed to the eight Indian nationals following the acceptance of an appeal by the Indian government.

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