Watch: Indian Navy Veterans Return Home After Being Released From Qatar In Espionage Case

Eight former Indian Navy personnel who had been given the death penalty in Qatar for espionage have been freed in a significant diplomatic move. The Ministry of External Affairs stated that seven of the eight former Indian Navy personnel have returned to their homeland after being released from Qatar’s custody.

Commander Purnendu Tiwari, whose death sentence was commuted but who yet received the harshest punishment of a 25-year life term, has not returned to India as of Monday morning, but seven sailors have. He, too, is expected back in India soon.

The event represents a significant turning point in a case that attracted attention from around the world and demonstrated the value of bilateral engagements in resolving challenging legal cases. The eight veterans, who had been charged with serious offences in Qatar, got their death sentences commuted to longer prison terms because of the diplomatic efforts of the Indian government.


Video Credits: ANI/Twitter

The released Ex-Navy personnel have been identified as Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar. This group worked for the defence services organisation Dahra Global Technologies, headquartered in Qatar. They were arrested in August 2022 on suspicion of espionage, purportedly on behalf of Israel.

Neither New Delhi nor Doha officially released the charges against the veterans. According to initial reports, they were detained on suspicion of spying for Israel, allegedly over Qatar’s military submarine program. It was claimed that intercepted electronic conversations revealed their involvement in spying on Qatar’s navy’s confidential project utilising Italian midget submarines designed to avoid radar detection.

The veterans were denied bail and had instead been placed in solitary prison since their arrest. A Qatari court sentenced them to death in October 2023. India was shocked by the decision and pledged to look into all legal possibilities to help the eight military personnel, including senior officers who commanded frontline warships in the Indian Navy.

The settlement was made possible by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, during the COP28 Summit in Dubai. The veterans were eventually released due to increased diplomatic efforts that followed this meeting on December 1.

The Qatari appeal court modified the death sentences to periods of imprisonment ranging from three to twenty-five years in December of 2023. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Indian government continues to be actively involved in offering support to the affected individuals, communicating with the legal team in Qatar, and assuring the families of their continued support.

The release of the eight Navy veterans highlights the importance of diplomatic discussion and collaboration among governments in addressing difficulties confronting their nationals abroad. While legal proceedings and diplomatic talks continue, the settlement of this sensitive matter signifies a major turning point in India-Qatar ties.

Reference: Indian Express, NDTV

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

About Author

Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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