Qatar court drops death penalty for eight Indians
A Qatari court had previously sentenced eight former Indian Navy personnel to death on charges of espionage, causing diplomatic tension between India and Qatar. In a recent event, the Court of Appeals in Doha has commuted their sentences.
GS-02 (India and its neighbourhood)
Background of the Case:
- Eight Indian nationals, employed by Al Dahra in Doha, faced charges related to breaching sensitive secrets.
- Dahra Global Technologies, their employer, had ties to the production of advanced Italian-origin submarines known for stealth capabilities.
- Specific charges against the individuals were not disclosed by Qatari authorities.
- Two trials occurred in March and June 2023, shrouded in secrecy due to the case’s sensitivity.
- India expressed shock and concern, exploring legal options for the release of its citizens.
- Consular access was granted, but details remained undisclosed.
- Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement: India may explore the option of requesting the return of the convicted personnel to serve their sentences in India, based on the bilateral “Transfer of Sentenced Persons” agreement signed with Qatar in 2015.
- Consular and Legal Assistance: The MEA asserts its commitment to providing consular and legal assistance and pledges to continue engaging with Qatari authorities on the matter.
- The crisis marks the first biggest challenge in the historically stable India-Qatar relationship.
- Previous high-level engagements, including the Prime Minister’s visit to Doha in 2016, underlined the stability.
- Qatar’s role as a major LNG supplier to India adds economic significance to the bilateral ties.