The Indian government announced that eight former Navy officers who were given death sentences by a Qatari court in October would have their sentences reduced. The details of the shorter sentences, which most likely involve lengthy jail terms, have not yet been made public. The reduction in sentencing comes in response to India’s diplomatic efforts and raises concerns over the initially ambiguous allegations brought against the men.

Sentences Reduced

The Indian government said that sentences have been reduced, however it did not specify the new penalties. The decision was made during heated diplomatic discussions and a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani at the COP28 summit.

Qatar’s Indiscriminate Charges and India’s Diplomatic Attempts

India and Qatar have not made public the accusations made against the eight men. There are unsubstantiated rumors that they were accused of espionage for Israel. After expressing dismay at the first death sentences, India’s Ministry of External Affairs launched diplomatic measures to resolve the issue.


Background and Identity

They  are formally identified as employees for the private enterprise Al Dahra, however there are reports emerging that they were once members of the Indian Navy. They were earlier referred to in parliament as “ex-servicemen” by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. Additionally, the men’s relatives confirmed to local media that they were once in the Navy.

Earlier this month, the men in custody met with India’s envoy to Qatar. Indian officials attended the Court of Appeal hearing in Qatar along with their families. The case’s next steps are yet unknown.

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