New Delhi, February 12 (The Hindu): Eight Indian former navy personnel who were arrested in Qatar on August 30, 2022 and were given death sentence last October for alleged spying for a foreign power, were released signifying India’s diplomatic clout in Qatar.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs indicated that seven of the men have already returned.
“The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar. Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals,” said the MEA announcing the release.
The case of the eight Indian Navy veterans have kept India-Qatar relation on tenterhooks as the matter became an issue of diplomatic tug of war since they were arrested in August 2022 and the cause of the arrest was never publicised. India had earlier appealed against the death sentence of a lower court in Doha that was subsequently commuted into a sentence of varying periods for the eight individuals.
Earlier there were indications that Qatar would set the eight men free ahead of Ramzan or Eid. However, the announcement has come a day prior to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates on February 13-14.
According to available information, Qatar holds around 750 Indian prisoners in its prisons.