Of the eight Indian nationals detained in Qatar, seven have returned to India. These Indians had been sentenced to death in Qatar. The sentences were changed to prison terms of various durations, in January this year. The exact charges against these persons were never disclosed.
A government statement read, “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 Indians who returned to India are all Navy veterans. They were working for Dahra Global, a private company. The company shut its offices in Doha in March 2023. These veterans were arrested in August 2022. Reportedly, they were arrested by Qatar’s intelligence agency on a charge of spying.
The death sentence awarded to these Indians had created a storm. With India-Qatar relations being both deep and healthy, it was expected that the Indian government’s attempt to get legal redressal would prevail. The ultimate release of the Indians and the handling of the entire incident can be considered as a big diplomatic win for India. What could have also been an important factor in the whole process of release, is the US$ 78 bn LNG contract for the next 20 years, signed only the other day between the two countries.
Brig SK Chatterji (Retired)