A Qatar court has accepted India’s appeal against the death penalty to eight former Indian Navy personnel, who were handed the sentence last month in an alleged case of espionage. Sources said that the Qatari court will set a hearing date after examining the appeal.
According to reports, the eight men were arrested in August 2022 by Qatar’s intelligence agency for spying. But the Qatari authorities haven’t made the charges against them public yet. Their bail petitions were rejected several times and the verdict against them was pronounced last month by the Court of First Instance in Qatar.
Granted consular access to them, Indian authorities have been working to secure their release.
The arrested Indian Navy veterans are 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.
All of the former Navy officers have a distinguished service record of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy and have held important positions including that of instructors in the force.
Meetu Bhargava, the sister of one of the former officers detained, had sought help from the government to bring her brother back. In a post on X on June 8, she had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
“These Ex-Navy officers are the pride of the nation & again I request our Hon’ble Prime Minister with folded hands that it is high time that they all are brought back to India immediately without any further delay,” read her post, tagged to PM Modi and Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh.