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A Qatari court condemned eight retired Indian Navy men who were imprisoned in Doha in 2022 to death on Thursday, October 26. The soldiers, who consisted of seven officers and one sailor, worked for an Omani private defence firm namely Dahra Global in their personal capacity to supervise the induction of the Italian U212 stealth submarines in the Qatar Emiri Navy Forces. 

The news was announced on Thursday by the Ministry of External Affairs, India. There are speculations that they have been held on suspicion of spying for Israel, though the government of Qatar has not disclosed the precise allegations. At present, the verdict cannot be viewed by the general public.

The Ministry of External Affairs responded to the announcement, stating that it was greatly shocked at the verdict of the death sentence and adding that it will be considering all of its possible legal remedies. Authorities in Qatar are additionally claiming that they possess digital evidence related to the case.

In the year Ministry of External Affairs of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar responded to a question in Parliament with a letter stating that the eight individuals were former members of the Indian Navy who were employed by a personal agency, Al Dahra World. On the 30th of August, 2022, Qatari authorities took them into custody. The Indian authorities were given permission to visit them consularly and were also permitted to communicate with their families. Jaishankar gave them his word that they were in constant touch with the central administration.

Commander Sugunakar Pakala (Retd), Commander Purnendu Tiwari (Retd), Commander Amit Nagpal (Retd), Commander SK Gupta (Retd), Captain BK Verma (Retd), Captain Navtej Gill (Retd), Captain Saurabh Vashisht (Retd), Sailor Ragesh are ex Indian officials in custody.

India had previously attempted, but failed, to diplomatically bring up the matter at high levels with respect to Qatar. The government is restrained from applying excessive force to the Gulf nation in this case, partly because of the accusations themselves and partly because it understands that every nation has its own legal system.

The Chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Motion and Retired Main Common Satbir Singh, said that men had come to Qatar to train their naval troops. According to him, seven out of eight of the men who were taken into custody were formerly sophisticated age commanders who were in need of assistance due to a variety of health-related issues.

Certain reporters who covered their capture and detention at Doha reportedly received requests to depart the country. Although the journalists’ nationality is unknown, it is said that at least one of them was an Indian national.

Throughout their trial, the eight officials were granted consular access to New Delhi by the authorities of Qatar. In the Gulf region, there are countless number Indian residents who work as partially skilled or unskilled employees. They are a significant source of revenue for India while contributing to the Gulf economies’ success.

Written by: Divyani Newar, College name: NEF Law College, 5th Semester, 3 Year LL.B., An intern under Legal Vidhiya



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