It’s been 85 days since eight former Indian Navy officers were detained by Qatar intelligence and put into the Qatar jail. Qatar intelligence agencies detained Navy veterans on August 30 and have been imprisoned since solitary.
Qatari officials have restrained from stating the charges against the men. Still, there exists some assumption that they were charged with ‘spying for Israel’, an amount that Indian government sources have rubbished.
All eight were working for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a company which prepares the Qatari Emiri Navy and supplies logistics assistance and equipment maintenance. The company’s CEO, Khamis Al Ajmi, is a retired Squadron Leader from the Royal Oman Air Force.
Commander Purnendu Tiwari (retd), the managing director of Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, is among the eight ex-Navy officers in custody. He was honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award in 2019, which the President of India gave.
Apart from Commander Tiwari, the other imprisoned officers are Cdr. Navtej Singh Gill, director (naval training); Cdr. Birendra Kumar Verma, director of the Naval Academy; Cdr. Sugunakar Pakala, director, FCN; Cdr. Sanjeev Gupta; Cdr. Amit Nagpal; Capt. Saurab Vasisht; and Ragesh Gopakumar.
The team has been living in Qatar for the past five years but was arrested from their homes in the middle of the night without any prior notice. The company’s website has also become passive since the arrest of eight Indian Navy Veterans.
It has been indicated that apart from being kept in isolated detention, the men have also faced intense mental harassment. It is believed that even the eight men are in the dark about why they are being held, and they have not been produced in court as per the standard model of any law-abiding nation.
The illegal custody of 8 Navy veterans has invited anger from the Indian Navy community. Former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash said it was time to review IN-Qatari Navy relations and the joint naval exercise ‘Zair-al-Bahr’.
Qatar is an autocratic Islamic monarchy which got independent from Britain in 1971. This tiny but wealthy Gulf Arab nation has appeared as a key funder and sponsor of Islamic terrorism and radical Islam worldwide, often through front NGOs.