World News

The Ministry of External Affairs clarified the situation of the seventh former Indian Navy officer, who was sentenced to death by a Qatar court in an espionage case before being released, on Thursday, saying he must meet certain prerequisites.

The eight Indian nationals will return as soon as they meet all of the prerequisites, the MEA said in a briefing on Thursday.

Randhir Jaiswal, the MEA’s official spokeswoman, told the press briefing on Thursday, “As you know, all eight Indian nationals who were involved in the Al Dahra Global case have been released.”

“Seven of them have returned to India; the eighth Indian national has some prerequisites to meet. He will return after those are completed. So, that’s where we stand on the eighth national,” Jaiswal said.

Despite desperate pleadings from the Navy veterans’ family for their release and safe passage back to their homeland, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told them that it will use all diplomatic channels and organise legal aid to return them home.

The Navy veterans, Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal, and Sailor Ragesh, were held in August 2022.

On December 28, 2023, Qatar’s Court of Appeal commuted the death punishment imposed on all eight individuals in October 2023.

The eight Indian nationals who have been imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 are accused of espionage on a submarine programme. A Qatari court sentenced the former naval members to death on unspecified allegations.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 meeting in Dubai to discuss bilateral cooperation and the “well-being of the Indian community” in Qatar.

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