FAMILIES OF EX-NAVY PERSONNEL DETAINED IN QATAR SAY MISINFORMATION BEING SPREAD, 8 EX-NAVY MEN DIDN’T WORK ON SUBMARINES
New Delhi: Friends and families of the eight former Indian Navy personnel detained in Qatar and given the death penalty by a court in the Gulf country remain hopeful for early relief.
The retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.
In the absence of any concrete information on the trial in Qatar the families feel there are a lot of misconceptions originating in the West Asian media on the issue.
The close relative of one of the men detained in Qatar, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says that the wrong information had been reported by several media outlets in West Asia alleging that the Indian Navy men were accused of spying on a submarine project run by Qatar.
According to the relative, the ex-Indian Navy men were not engaged in espionage but had gone to Qatar to help with the country’s Naval program. Qatar has also not made any proof public to substantiate these allegations of spying.
The relative further says that none of the former Naval officers had been working on any submarine project while representing Dahra Global (the former employer of the ex-Naval personnel).
Dahra Global employees worked with Fincantieri, the Italian ship manufacturing company, as a subcontractor for maintenance of ships and in training the Qatari Navy.
Dahra Global was a support solution provider to the Aerospace, Security and Defence sectors. Dahra Global was a subsidiary of Dahra Engineering and Services LLC, based in Oman and primarily supports Qatar and GCC countries. It employed ex-Navy personnel and provided training and related services to Qatar’s Navy.
Families of the former Naval personnel feel this wrong information that has been circulated could further endanger the situation the former Naval personnel find themselves in.
According the families, the eight Naval men have served the nation with the highest integrity and honour while in the Indian Navy. Their families and friends are extremely distraught and have been traumatized by their year-long detention. What has further hurt them is the fact that the circumstance of the detention has been misreported.
The eight men have been in the custody of Qatari authorities since August 2022. The Court of First Instance of Qatar passed the judgment against them, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Qatar is also yet to provide details of the charges against the former Naval officers, nor has the order of the Court of First instances been shared with the families of the Ex-Naval officers.
The families say this is a bilateral matter between the two countries and it needs to be handled with tremendous sensitivity.
Meanwhile on October 30, families of the detained ex-Naval men met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who assured them of full government support.
“Met this morning with the families of the eight Indians detained in Qatar. Stressed that Government attaches the highest importance to the case. Fully share the concerns and pain of the families. Underlined that Government will continue to make all efforts to secure their release. Will coordinate closely with the families in that regard” the Minister posted on X after the meeting.
Speaking to TIN on Wednesday Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar also sought to reassure the families of the detained men.
“Every effort is being made by the government to ensure we take up through the legal course and we get relief for our personnel,” said Admiral Hari Kumar.
Earlier the Ministry of External Affairs had said that they were in touch with the families of the former Naval personnel and that all legal options were being explored.