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Qatar releases 8 Indian Navy veterans, 7 back in India

The Qatar court has released all eight former Indian Navy personnel in its custody, out of which seven have returned to India, said a statement by the ministry of external affairs on Monday.The MEA welcomed the decision of the Qatar court to release the ex-Indian Navy men previously sentenced to death in the country, lauding their home-coming.Earlier, the capital punishment for the jailed Indian Navy veterans was commuted to an extended prison term after diplomatic talks between Qatar and India.

The prison term was also shortened after various kin of the jailed Indians approached the MEA, which in turn assured the use of all diplomatic channels and legal assistance to bring them back.The development came after Qatar's Court of First Instance accepted an appeal filed by the Indian government against the death sentence awarded to the Navy veterans.The eight Indian Navy officials who were detained in Qatar are -- Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.
The Indian nationals, who worked with Al Dahra, were arrested in August 2022 in an alleged case of espionage. Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public, given the sensitivity of the matter.The Navy veterans were awarded death sentences by Qatar's Court of First Instance on October 26, 2023. India described the ruling as "deeply" shocking and vowed to explore all legal options in the case.In its reaction to the ruling by the Qatari court, the MEA had said it was attaching "high importance" to the case and exploring all legal options.

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