Qatar frees 8 jailed Indian Navy veterans, diplomatic win for New Delhi

Qatar frees 8 jailed Indian Navy veterans
Qatar frees 8 jailed Indian Navy veterans. Photo Courtesy: Youtube screen grab

Eight Indian Navy veterans, who were in prison in Qatar over spying allegations, have been released, the Indian government confirmed on Monday.

Seven of them have already returned to India.

Confirming the development, the Indian government said in a statement: “The Government of India welcomes the release of eight Indian nationals working for the Dahra Global company who were detained in Qatar.”

“Seven out of the eight of them have returned to India. We appreciate the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals,” the statement said.

The arrested personnel were Purnendu Tiwari, Sugunakar Pakala, Amit Nagpal, and Sanjeev Gupta, who are Commanders, and Navtej Singh Gill, Birendra Kumar Verma, and Saurabh Vasisht, who are Captains and Sailor Ragesh Gopakumar.

Navy veterans thank Narendra Modi

After returning home, the Navy veterans praised Indian PM Narendra Modi for securing their release.

“We are very happy that we are back in India, safely. Definitely, we would like to thank PM Modi as this was only possible because of his personal intervention,” one of the veterans told NDTV.

Another released veteran told the Indian news channel: “We waited almost for 18 months to be back in India. We are extremely grateful to the PM. It wouldn’t have been possible without his personal intervention and his equation with Qatar.”

All eight have been in jail since August last year and were handed death sentences on October 26, after a brief trial in March. Bail was denied numerous times during their incarceration and trial.

Where were the veterans working in Qatar?

The eight were working for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services when they were arrested.