In what may come as a shock to the Indian authorities, 8 former personnel of the Indian Navy have now been handed the death penalty by a court in Qatar.
The people who have been sentenced are Capt Navtej Singh Gill, Capt Birendra Kumar Verma, Capt Saurabh Vasisht, Cdr Amit Nagpal, Cdr Purnendu Tiwari, Cdr Sugunakar Pakala, Cdr Sanjeev Gupta and Sailor Ragesh.
The Indian nationals were all employees of Doha-based Dahra Global and had been taken into custody on unspecified charges more than a year ago in August 2022.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, the ministry reported ‘We are deeply shocked by the verdict of the death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgment. We remain in touch with the family members and the legal team and are exploring all legal options. We will further take the case up with Qatari authorities.’
While working in Qatar the men were involved in activities like providing training and related services to Qatar’s armed forces. Some of them were also working on what was categorized as a highly sensitive project which were Italian technology-based midget submarines with stealth characteristics.
The bail pleas of the 8 were rejected multiple times and the detention kept on being extended by the Qatari authorities until they were handed the death penalty on October 26, 2023.