Indian ambassador granted access to meet 8 ex-Navy men on death row in Qatar: MEA

indian ambassador granted access to meet 8 ex-navy men on death row in qatar: mea

Indian ambassador granted access to meet 8 ex-Navy men on death row in Qatar: MEA

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 summit, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India was allowed consular access to the eight former Navy personnel who have been sentenced to death in Qatar on espionage charges.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the Indian Ambassador got consular access to meet them in prison on December 3 (Sunday). He was answering a question on the issue at a press conference in New Delhi.

“You would have seen Prime Minister Modi meet Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, the Amir of Qatar in Dubai on the sidelines of COP28. They’ve had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship as well as in the well-being of the Indian community…,” he said.

Bagchi added that India is closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance.

“There have been two hearings. We filed an appeal, from the families, and the detainees had a final appeal,” he said, speaking of the appeals held on November 23 and 30.

“Meanwhile, our ambassador got consular access to meet all eight of them in prison on third of December. This is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so,” Bagchi said.

The Indian nationals, all employees of a Doha-based company, were taken into custody in August 2022. As The Indian Express reported earlier, while Qatari authorities are yet to make the charges against the prisoners public, a report in the Financial Times said that the eight Indians had been charged with spying for Israel.

The arrested Indians were identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh – all ex-Indian Navy, employed by Dahra Global.

Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar had earlier met with the families of the prisoners and assured them that the government attached “the highest importance” to the case. On their part, the families have submitted a mercy plea to the Emir of Qatar.

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