S Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, met with the families of eight Indians who had received the death penalty in Qatar. He claimed on X (previously Twitter) that he reminded the Indian detainees that their issue is of “the highest importance to the case” to the Indian government.
Minister Jaishankar’s Empathetic Response
“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,” S Jaishankar Tweeted. According to Reuters, which cited Indian and Arab sources with knowledge of the case, a court in Qatar last week sentenced up to eight former members of the Indian Navy to death on suspicion of espionage for Israel. The Indian nationals were detained by the Qatari intelligence service in August 2022, but neither New Delhi nor Doha formally revealed the charges against them.
Jaishankar Reiterates ‘Highest Importance
Jaishankar’s “highest importance” comment is a repetition of an earlier statement from the External Affairs Ministry stating that India will continue to “extend all consular and legal assistance” to the Indians who are incarcerated in Qatar and that it will also bring up the verdict with the authorities in Qatar. “We are deeply shocked by the verdict of death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgement. We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in an official statement. MEA did, however, also accept that the processes were confidential and declined to speak further at this time.
Opportunity to Challenge Death Sentences
According to a source previously provided to Reuters who is aware of the case’s developments, the eight Indians have the opportunity to challenge their death sentences. However, neither the Indian nor the Qatari foreign ministries have responded to Reuters’s inquiries about the allegations made by these people. The office of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem, which is in charge of Israel’s intelligence services, has not responded as of yet either.
Espionage Accusations and the Israeli Submarine Program
The Navy veterans were accused of espionage in connection with an Israeli submarine programme, according to media sources. Authorities in Qatar have also claimed to possess technological proof related to the case. Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, and Sailor Ragesh are the former Indian Navy officers. On August 30, 2022, the Qatari intelligence service detained them all in Doha. The Qatari authorities repeatedly rejected the Navy veterans’ bail requests.