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Indian ambassador meets 8 former Navy veterans on death row in Qatar

Indian ambassador meets 8 former Navy veterans on death row in Qatar

New Delhi: The Indian ambassador to Qatar on Sunday met with the eight former Navy officers on death row in the Gulf country, the External Affairs Ministry said.

It comes two days after PM Modi met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the UN climate summit in Dubai.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the two leaders discussed ‘the overall bilateral relationship as well as on the well-being of the Indian community’.

However Bagchi did not confirm if they touched upon the matter of navy officials.

The Gulf nation arrested in August 2022 the eight veterans who were working for a private company called Al Dahra reportedly providing training to the Qatari Navy.

The officials arrested are identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purenendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.

A Qatari court of first instance sentenced on October 26 the officials to death without making public the charges on them.

Indian government expressing shock and filed an appeal against the verdict which led to two hearings in the Court of Appeal, according to Bagchi.

Following the third hearing on Thursday, the case is expected to move to the Court of Cassation after the Court of Appeal hands its verdict.

‘We are closely following the matter and extending all legal and consular assistance,’ Bagchi was quoted as saying.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met the veterans’ families on October 30 convincing them that the government has given ‘the highest importance to the case’, according to Scroll.

Reports previously suggested that the veterans were arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel.

However, Indian officials who chose not to reveal their identities rejected it, Scroll reported citing the Hindustan Times.

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