New Delhi, February 12:The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed on Monday that all eight former Indian Navy personnel, who were held in custody in Qatar, have been released by the Qatar court. Out of the eight, seven have returned to India, marking the end of a prolonged ordeal for the individuals and their families.
In an official statement, the MEA expressed gratitude for the decision of the Qatar court to release the ex-Indian Navy personnel, acknowledging their safe return home. The ministry highlighted the cooperation between India and Qatar, particularly the efforts of the Amir of the State of Qatar, in facilitating the release of the individuals.
The MEA’s statement read, “The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals.”
The ordeal began in October 2022 when the eight Indian nationals, former Indian Navy personnel, were arrested in Qatar on charges of allegedly spying on a submarine program. They were subsequently convicted of espionage by the Qatari court and sentenced to death, although the specific charges were not disclosed publicly.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs swiftly intervened, engaging in diplomatic talks with Qatar to commute the death sentences to extended prison terms. Furthermore, the ministry assured legal assistance and utilized diplomatic channels to secure the release of the individuals.
Following diplomatic efforts and interventions from various quarters, including the families of the jailed individuals, the court in Qatar commuted the death sentences to jail terms. As a result, seven out of the eight former Indian Navy officers have returned to India, with arrangements underway for the last released veteran to return home.
The Ministry of External Affairs reiterated its commitment to protecting the rights and interests of Indian nationals abroad, promising to explore all legal options to address the charges against the former Indian Navy personnel. The resolution of the Dahra Global case underscores the importance of diplomatic engagement and international cooperation in safeguarding the welfare of citizens facing legal challenges overseas.