Congress expresses relief as Qatar court commutes death sentence of 8 Navy veterans

"We express the hope that even the jail sentence will be set aside and the officers will be set free," says Jairam Ramesh

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh (photo: IANS)
Congress MP Jairam Ramesh (photo: IANS)
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PTI

The Congress expressed its relief over the decision of the Court of Appeals in Qatar to commute the death penalty of eight former Indian Navy officers and hoped that even their jail sentence would be set aside and they would be set free in due course.

In a huge relief for New Delhi, the appellate court in Qatar commuted the death sentence of the eight Navy veterans, who were arrested in a case of alleged espionage in August 2022.

'We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeals of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced,' the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement today, 28 December.

Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the party shares the government's relief over the decision.

'The Indian National Congress shares its immediate relief along with the entire nation that the Court of Appeals in Qatar has decided not to go ahead with the death penalty on 8 former Indian Navy officers. While fuller details are awaited, we express the hope that even the jail sentence that has replaced the death penalty will be set aside and the officers will be set free,' Ramesh said in a post on X.

The Indian nationals, who were working with Doha-based Al Dahra Global Technologies, were taken into custody in August last year. While the charges against them were not made public by Qatari authorities, they were sentenced to death by the country's Court of First Instance in October this year.

The private firm provided training and other services to Qatar's armed forces and security agencies.

Among the eight Navy veterans, Captain Navtej Gill was awarded the President's Gold Medal for excellence when he graduated from the naval academy and later served as an instructor at the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, Tamil Nadu.

The others are Captain Saurabh Vasisht and commanders Purnendu Tiwari, Amit Nagpal, S.K. Gupta, B.K. Verma, Sugunakar Pakala and Sailor Ragesh.

India moved the Court of Appeals in Qatar against their death sentence last month.

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