Qatar releases former Indian Navy officers after overturning death sentences Military news

Seven of the men have already been returned to India, but details of the case remain scant.

Qatar released eight former Indian Navy officers who were sentenced to death on charges of spying for Israel.

The Indian Foreign Ministry thanked Doha on Monday when it announced the release of the eight. Details surrounding their arrest, sentencing and transfer remain unclear.

“We appreciate the decision taken by the Emir of the State of Qatar to allow the release of these citizens and their return to their homeland,” the ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.

The men were reportedly arrested in August 2022, due to the charges against them Passed sensitive information related to submarines to Israeli intelligence. Neither Qatar nor India officially confirmed these accusations.

They were sentenced to death by a lower court last year, prompting India to express deep shock and file an appeal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in December that it had gained consular access to the prisoners. Later that month, it said the Court of Appeal commuted their death sentences to varying prison terms.

She said on Monday that seven of the men have already returned to India. No further details were provided about the eighth man, the conditions of his release, or the current status of the case.

Powerful allies

The arrest of the men last year made headlines in the Indian and Arab media.

The eight were senior employees of Al Dahra International Technologies and Consulting Services, a company advising on a Qatari program aimed at acquiring high-tech Italian-made submarines that can evade radar detection. The private company has since been closed.

Although this issue briefly upset relations, it is unlikely to have a major impact on relations between New Delhi and Doha, two strong allies.

The couple still has extensive economic ties. Last week, they signed a deal worth tens of billions of dollars that will secure Qatari liquefied natural gas exports until the end of 2048.

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