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A Qatar court accepts appeal of Navy veterans against death sentence

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A Qatar court has accepted an appeal against the death sentence to the eight Indian Navy veterans, raising hope for a relaxation in the extreme punishment announced in an alleged case of espionage.

The families of the former Navy personnel are now waiting for the court to take up the matter for hearing for which the date is still to be announced, said sources aware of developments. India had filed the appeal on November 9 after the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement had assured that the Navy veterans would be provided “all legal and consular access” and that the issue would be taken up with the Qatar authorities as well.

The families of the Naval officers were also provided access by Qatar authorities to meet them a couple of days ago, said sources.

On October 26, former Indian Navy employees — Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht and Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar — were awarded death penalty by the Court of First Instance in Qatar after they were arrested in August 2022 by Qatar intelligence on charges espionage. They were employed with AL Dahara company there before serving the Indian Navy with distinction and some of them are highly decorated as well.

The families of the ex-Navy officials had met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar to solicit government support after the death sentence which was shocking to the central government as well.



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