• Saturday, March 02, 2024

India News

Qatar court accepts India’s appeal against Navy personnel’s death sentence

A general view shows the building of the Doha lower criminal court where the trial of a Dutch woman, who was jailed after reporting she had been raped, is taking place on June 13, 2016 in the Qatari capital. The Doha court convicted the 22-year-old Dutch woman, known only as Laura, of adultery and handed her a one-year suspended sentence after she reported being raped while on holiday in Qatar. The Dutch woman who was not in court, was also fined 3,000 Qatari riyals ($800/710 euros) and will be deported once she pays the fine, court officials said. / AFP / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A court in Qatar has admitted the Indian government’s appeal against the death penalty handed down to eight former Indian Navy personnel in that country, according to media reports.

The Qatari court on Thursday (23) admitted the appeal filed by the Indian government and the next hearing is to be held soon, the reports said.

Last week, India said the appeal process against the death sentence given to the eight former Indian Navy personnel by a Qatari court is under process and it was hopeful of a positive outcome from it.

India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said India is engaged with the Qatari authorities on the matter and the government will continue to extend all legal and consular assistance to the Indian nationals.

The eight Indians were on October 26 given the death sentence by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. India described the ruling as “deeply” shocking and vowed to explore all legal options in the case. Days later, an appeal was filed against the death sentence.

The Indian nationals, who worked with private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage. Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public.

The charges were filed against the Navy veterans on March 25 and they were tried under Qatari law.

All of the former Navy officers had “unblemished stints” of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy and had held important positions including that of instructors in the force, former military officials had said.

In May, Al-Dhara Global closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home.

Earlier, it was reported the men were spying for a “third country”. Some reports even claimed they were accused of spying for Israel.

However, Israel’s government has not commented on the case.

Meetu Bhargava, the sister of one of the men, dismissed the allegations.

“My brother is 63 years old… Why would he spy for Israel? Why would he do anything like this at his age?” Bhargava was quoted as saying by the Indian Express daily.

She said she would seek the “personal intervention” of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Qatar rarely carries out executions, and the Gulf state has previously said a death sentence is equivalent to a life sentence.

According to Amnesty International, the country executed one condemned Nepali migrant worker in 2020, after a 20-year hiatus.

New Delhi shares historically friendly ties with Doha, a key supplier of natural gas to India. More than two-thirds of Qatar’s 2.8 million population are migrant workers, and many of them are Indian citizens.


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