An Indian envoy met the eight Navy men who were sentenced to death on December 3 after Qatar granted consular access to the embassy, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
During a weekly media briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the Centre is following the matter closely and has extended all legal and consular assistance.
“ … Our ambassador got consular access to meet all 8 of them in prison on 3rd December. This is a sensitive issue, but we will continue to follow and whatever we can share, we will do so,” Bagchi said. The Indian embassy in Doha had previously received consular access to the detained veterans in November.
He said that there have been two hearings in the case so far and an appeal has been filed against the death sentence by the families of the Navy personnel. Bagchi added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also met Qatar emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad in Dubai on the sidelines of CoP28 earlier this month and both the leaders had a good conversation on the overall bilateral relationship as well as the well-being of the Indian community.
The Navy veterans were on October 26 sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. India described the ruling as “deeply” shocking and vowed to explore all legal options. Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public.
In its reaction to the ruling by the Qatari court, the MEA said last month that it is attaching “high importance” to the case and exploring all legal options.
The charges were filed against the eight Indian Navy veterans on March 25 and they were tried under Qatari law.
All the former officers had “unblemished stints” of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy and held important positions, including that of instructors in the force, former military officials had said.