NEW DELHI: The Qatari court has commuted the death sentences of eight former Indian Navy officers who were employees of the security firm Dahra. The officers were in custody since August 2022 and were sentenced to death by the Court of First Instance of Qatar in October this year. The sentences were commuted on Thursday, according to an announcement from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The officers, employed by Dahra, a private company providing training to the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces, have been at the center of a case shrouded in secrecy. While official charges have not been disclosed, media reports last year widely suggested that the former servicemen were arrested on charges of spying for Israel. The Indian government, however, has refrained from commenting on the accusations, citing the confidential and sensitive nature of the case.
Espionage Charges Against Indian Navy Officers
The Ministry of External Affairs released a statement 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.”
The ruling to commute the death sentences was reportedly made in the presence of the Indian ambassador to Qatar and the family members of the ex-officers. The Indian government is awaiting the detailed judgment from the Qatari court.
The case has drawn attention due to its sensitive nature, involving former Navy officers and allegations of espionage.