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DUHRA GLOBAL CASE | Qatar Court reduces sentences for 8 Indian nationals over espionage allegations

12:56 AM Dec 29, 2023 IST | SURINDER SINGH OBEROI
duhra global case   qatar court reduces sentences for 8 indian nationals over espionage allegations
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New Delhi, Dec 28: Qatar's Court of Appeal has reduced the sentences for eight Indian nationals convicted in the Dahra Global case, as confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs. The individuals in question, former Navy officers employed by a private firm in Doha, had faced arrest in connection with the espionage allegations.

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The Ministry of External Affairs stated in response to the court's decision, saying, "We have noted the verdict today of the Court of Appeal of Qatar in the Dahra Global case, in which the sentences have been reduced. The detailed judgment is awaited. We are in close touch with the legal team as well as the family members to decide on the next steps."

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Emphasising the ongoing support provided by Indian authorities, the press release highlighted the presence of the Indian Ambassador to Qatar and other officials in the Court of Appeal during the verdict. The statement conveyed India's commitment to extending consular and legal assistance and affirmed the continuation of efforts to address the matter with Qatari authorities.

The eight Indian nationals, former navy officers who were employees of Dahra Global based in Doha, were initially arrested in August 2022 on charges of alleged espionage. Initially facing a death sentence pronounced by Qatar's Court of First Instance in October, the court accepted an appeal against the extreme penalty in November, offering a glimmer of hope for the individuals involved.

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Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of the case, the ministry refrained from providing further details, stating, "Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of proceedings of this case, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture."

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The arrest of these individuals last year garnered significant attention in India, with limited confirmed information about the charges against them, as the court's order had not been made public. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had acknowledged them as "ex-servicemen" in parliament last year, and the families of some of the men confirmed their Navy background to local media. India's ambassador to Qatar also visited the men in prison earlier this month.

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With the detailed judgment from the Court of Appeal eagerly anticipated, discussions on the next course of action are unfolding in consultation with the legal team and the affected individuals' family members.

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The reduction in sentences brings a new dimension to the case, prompting a re-evaluation of the situation by all stakeholders involved and a new hope of a little relief for the friends and family members of the arrested persons.

On December 2, Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged in a crucial meeting with Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in Dubai. The discussions centered around strengthening bilateral partnerships between the two nations and addressing the well-being of the Indian community residing in Qatar.

As the legal proceedings continue, diplomatic efforts remain focused on safeguarding the rights and interests of the individuals involved in the Dahra Global case and making all efforts to bring them back to India.

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