Qatar court releases 8 former Indian Navy personnel including Kerala man: MEA

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The Navy veterans were on October 26, 2023, given death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance. Representational image.

New Delhi: The Qatar court on Monday released all eight former Indian Navy personnel who were previously sentenced to death in the country. Among the eight, seven have returned to India, said India Ministry of External Affairs in an official statement. The Indian nationals were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage.

"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," said MEA on Monday. 

"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 in the statement.

The men — Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar — were working for a private company, Dahra Global, in their capacity, to oversee the induction of Italian U212 stealth submarines in the Qatari Emiri Naval Force. Among them, Ragesh is a native of Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram.

The Navy veterans were on October 26, 2023, given death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance.
But in December 2023, the Court of Appeal in Qatar commuted the death sentence and sent them to prison for varying durations.

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