Qatar court sentences eight Indians to death on unconfirmed charges News
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Qatar court sentences eight Indians to death on unconfirmed charges

The Court of First Instance at Doha, Qatar has awarded the death penalty to eight Indian nationals, announced the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday. While the Qatari government has not revealed the exact charges, some sources state they were arrested on charges of espionage on behalf of Israel. The judgment is currently unavailable for public viewing.

As per a 2022 letter by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, a response to a question posed to him in Parliament, the eight men were ex-Indian Navy personnel and were working as employees of Al Dahra Global, a private firm. They were arrested by Qatari authorities on August 30, 2022. The Indian Government was granted consular access to them and they were also allowed to contact their families. Jaishankar assured the government was in regular contact with them.

Retired Major General Satbir Singh, the Chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, stated that men had travelled to Qatar to train Qatari naval personnel. According to him, seven of the men arrested were former commanders of an advanced age, suffering from various health conditions and requiring assistance.

Reportedly, some journalists who covered their arrest and detention in Doha were asked to leave the country. While the nationality of the journalists has not been confirmed, it is alleged that one of them was Indian. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs, in their statement, declared they were “deeply shocked” by the verdict, and are awaiting the detailed judgment to be released. They stated that they would provide consular and legal assistance and that they are “exploring all legal options” with the men’s families. They also assured they would take the verdict up with the Qatari authorities.

Meanwhile, Indians have taken to social media to demand accountability and transparency from the Qatari authorities, especially with regard to the concealment of the charges.

Notably, Qatar houses around 746,000 persons of Indian origin—around 25% of Qatar’s population.