8 Former Indian Navy Personnel In Qatar Given 60 Days To Appeal Against Prison Sentence

The eight jailed former personnel of the Indian Navy in Qatar have been given 60 days to appeal against varying prison terms handed to them last week by a Qatari court. This development came after the commutation of death sentences, per the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday.

On December 28 2023, the Court of Appeal based in Qatar commuted the death sentences handed to these Indians in October. It allotted prison sentences for varying timelines, weeks following appeals by their family members against the previous order by another court. Randhir Jaiswal, an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said that the legal team of the Indian nationals received a copy of the court order, too. He referred to this document as “confidential”.

On December 28, the Court of Appeal had given out its judgment. After that, a press release was issued giving details and mentioning that the death penalty has been reduced. There is the judgment order, which is a confidential document,” he said. Mr Jaiswal was responding to a question.

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The highest court of Qatar, the Court of Cassation, has 60 days from the court’s decision to allow for an appeal. The legal team will now choose the best line of action. The spokesperson went on to say that what can be confirmed at the moment is that the eight Indian nationals who were initially facing the death penalty have now been given varying prison sentences.

He added that they’re in touch with the legal team and the family members. It has been revealed that the former members of the Indian Navy were sentenced to three to 25 years in prison. On October 26, the Court of First Instance in Qatar handed down death sentences to the Navy veterans.

The Indians were detained in August of 2023 while the private firm Al Dahra employed them. The accusations against the Indians were kept under wraps by both New Delhi and the Qatari government. The eight navy veterans were charged on March 25 and put on trial under Qatari law. The ex-Navy officers had all served “unblemished stints” spanning up to 20 years in the Indian Navy, holding prominent roles such as force instructors.

Al-Dahra Global ceased operations in Doha in May, and all of the employees — mostly Indians — have now left the company. It has been gathered that India is additionally considering the prospect of applying the terms of a bilateral agreement regarding the transfer of prisoners.

The deal signed between Qatar and India in 2015 provides for Qatari and Indian citizens who have been convicted and sentenced for criminal offences to serve prison sentences in their home country. However, there was zero clarity on whether Qatar had ratified this agreement.

Reference: NDTV

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