Addressing the matter’s sensitive nature, the MEA issued a statement urging all parties to refrain from speculating the details of the case. The ministry emphasised the need for a cautious approach given the seriousness of the situation involving the eight individuals.
Furthermore, the Indian embassy received another consular access on November 7, allowing diplomatic representatives to interact with the convicted individuals and gather additional information related to their legal proceedings. The MEA’s statement underscores the Indian government’s commitment to ensuring due process and legal representation for its citizens facing serious charges abroad.
As the legal process unfolds, the MEA remains actively involved in addressing the complexities surrounding the case. The decision to pursue further legal steps signals India’s dedication to securing the rights and interests of its citizens in accordance with international legal norms.
The situation will continue to be closely monitored, with diplomatic efforts focused on advocating for a fair and transparent legal process for the individuals involved. The MEA’s measured response emphasises the importance of upholding diplomatic protocols and legal procedures in addressing such critical matters involving Indian citizens abroad.
Addressing a media briefing on Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “Qatar’s court passed a judgement on October 26 in the case involving 8 employees of Al Dara company.”
Bagchi was responding to a question on eight detainees, who have been given death sentences, if would be freed on December 18, the National Day of Qatar. He added that the retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially. They (legal team) are now pursuing further legal steps and an appeal has already been filed, he said.
“The judgment is confidential and has only been shared with the legal team. They are now pursuing further legal steps and an appeal has already been filed. We will also remain engaged with the Qatari authorities in this matter,” the MEA spokesperson also said.
The MEA is actively coordinating with Qatari authorities and has secured consular access on November 7th. Furthermore, the External Affairs Minister (EAM) has met with the family members of those involved. On November 7, the Indian embassy in Doha received another consular access to the detainees,” said Bagchi.
“We are in touch with their family members too. External Affairs Minister met the family members earlier this month in New Delhi,” he added.
The eight former Indian Navy personnel were employees of Dahra Global, a Doha-based private defence services provider. They were arrested in August 2022 for espionage. India called the ruling deeply shocking and deployed all diplomatic channels to engage with Qatar on this case.
“We will continue to extend legal and consular support and I would urge everyone not to engage in speculation considering the sensitive nature of the case,” Bagchi appealed.
Friends and families of the eight former Indian Navy personnel detained in Qatar and given the death penalty by a court in the Gulf country are hopeful for early relief. In the absence of any concrete information on the trial in Qatar, the families feel there are a lot of misconceptions originating in the West Asian media on the issue.
A close relative of one of the men detained in Qatar, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the wrong information had been reported by several media outlets in West Asia alleging that the Indian Navy men were accused of spying on a submarine project run by Qatar.
According to the relative, the ex-Indian Navy men were not engaged in espionage but had gone to Qatar to help with the country’s Naval program. Qatar has also not made any proof public to substantiate these allegations of spying.
Families of the former Naval personnel feel this wrong information that has been circulated could further endanger the situation the former Naval personnel find themselves in.
According to the families, the eight Naval men have served the nation with the highest integrity and honour while in the Indian Navy. Their families and friends are extremely distraught and have been traumatized by their year-long detention. What has further hurt them is the fact that the circumstances of the detention have been misreported.
Meanwhile, Qatar is also yet to provide details of the charges against the former Naval officers, nor has the order of the Court of First Instances been shared with the families of the Ex-Naval officers.The families say this is a bilateral matter between the two countries and it needs to be handled with tremendous sensitivity.
Notably, on October 30, families of the detained ex-Naval men met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who assured them of full government support.
“Met this morning with the families of the eight Indians detained in Qatar. Stressed that the Government attaches the highest importance to the case. Fully share the concerns and pain of the families. Underlined that the Government will continue to make all efforts to secure their release. Will coordinate closely with the families in that regard” the Minister posted on X after the meeting.
Speaking to ANI earlier, Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar also sought to reassure the families of the detained men.
“Every effort is being made by the government to ensure we take up the legal course and get relief for our personnel,” said Admiral Hari Kumar.
Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that they were in touch with the families of the former Naval personnel and that all legal options were being explored.