Update (12 February 2024): According to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs, Qatar has freed 8 ex-Indian Navy men jailed on espionage charges and seven of them have returned to India.
Update (29 December 2023): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), through a press release on 28 December 2023, has informed that that the sentences of eight former Indian Navy personnel on death row have been reduced in the Dahra Global case. The detailed judgement is awaited.
A post is being shared on social media claiming that Qatar had revoked the death sentence awarded to eight Indians. The post claims that the Qatar government prioritized the friendship with Narendra Modi and India over the severity of the criminal offences allegedly committed by the eight Indians. In the wake of the Qatar Court of First Instance announcing the death penalty to eight former Indian Navy personnel in October 2023 on charges of allegedly spying for Israel, the post is going viral on social media. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Qatar quashed the death sentence of eight Indians prioritising the friendship with Narendra Modi and India.
Fact: The appellate court in Qatar recently accepted the appeal filed against the death sentence awarded to eight former personnel of the Indian Navy. However, the case is still pending and the next hearing of this case is scheduled on 07 December 2023. The Qatar judiciary as on date did not make any announcement regarding the cancellation of the death penalty of eight former Indian Navy personnel. Hence, the claim made in the post is False.
When we searched to check whether the Qatar Court had revoked the death sentence given to the eight former Indian Navy personnel, allegedly accused of spying for Israel, we could not find any official news reports confirming the quashing of the death sentence of eight Indians. If Qatar had quashed the death sentence of eight Indians, several news websites would have published articles reporting that information.
The appellate court in Qatar has accepted the appeal filed by the Indian government against the death sentence awarded to the eight former personnel. This reportedly took place almost two weeks after the Indian government had said that the appeal had been filed in the case. However, the Ministry of External Affairs did not make any announcement regarding the quashing of the death penalty given to eight Indian citizens.
Abhinandan Mishra, a journalist from Dainik Bhaskar, tweeted that the upcoming hearing for this case is set to take place on 7 December 2023. Speaking to ‘Boom Live’ about the viral social media post alleging the cancellation of the death sentence to eight former Indian Navy personnel, Abhinandan Mishra said, “Not true as far as I am aware. The case is still being heard in the court.”
To sum it up, Qatar did not revoke the death sentence issued to the eight former Indian Navy personnel.