The eight Indian nationals have been imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme…reports Asian Lite News
The Indian ambassador to Qatar and the embassy officials met with the eight detained veteran navy officials and a legal team is looking into the appeal aspect as 60 days have been provided to file an appeal, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
“Our ambassador, along with our embassy officials, met the eight detained. As we had conveyed to you last time, the legal team is looking into the appeal aspect. There is a period of 60 days within which they have to file this appeal,” MEA official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.
“On December 28, the court of appeal had given their verdict. Now, the matter is to go to the court of secession, which will be decided by the legal team…We still have some time. The consular access we had, our ambassador went and met and looked after their well-being,” he said while addressing a press briefing about the consular access with ex-navy personnel.
The eight Indian nationals have been imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme. The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.
Earlier, the Qatari Court commuted the death penalty sentence of eight ex-Indian naval officers it had arrested last year in the Dahra Global case, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement. The sentence has now been reduced to jail terms.
Describing the judgement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced.
“The MEA also said that the detailed judgement in the case is awaited and are in close touch with the legal team in Qatar.
MEA added, “The detailed judgement is awaited. We are in close touch with the legal team as well as the family members to decide on the next steps. Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities.”
Earlier, the newly appointed spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Jaiswal, emphasised the temporal significance of this period, stating, “As far as the issue is concerned, there is a time of 60 days when this issue can be appealed in the Court of Cassation, which is the highest court in Qatar.”
The MEA’s legal team possesses the confidential court order detailing the commutation of the death sentences to imprisonment terms, a move revealed in a press release following the court of appeal’s judgement on December 28.
“We issued a press release in which we informed you that the death sentence, which was originally a death penalty, has been changed to imprisonment sentences. Now our legal team has that court order, and I can confirm that all of them have received sentences of different durations, and the death penalty has been abolished,” Jaiswal said.
Moreover, the Court of First Instance of Qatar passed the judgement against them, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The MEA spokesperson also highlighted the recent meeting that took place between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad and said that they have had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai and discussed bilateral partnership and the “well-being of the Indian community” living in Qatar.
After a Qatar court commuted the death sentence of eight Indian ex-Navy personnel, foreign affairs expert Robinder Sachdev hailed India’s diplomacy and said that the new verdict by the Qatari court is a big relief for the arrested personnel and their families.
“No doubt, you see diplomacy has also worked. It shows Prime Minister Modi met the mayor of Qatar on the sidelines of the CoP28 which was being held in Dubai recently. So this would have been certainly brought up by the PM with the mayor of Qatar,” he said.
He added, “The judgment by the Qatari court is indeed a huge, huge relief for the families in India. At the same time, there is still some distance ahead because what has happened, is whether the court has commuted or instead of the death sentence has handed some other judgment, which we do at least. As of now, the question will be what is the judgment that the court has now announced?.” (ANI)