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Death sentence for Indian naval veterans in Qatar commuted to jail terms ranging from 3-25+ years

The judgement has given details on why the years of imprisonment varies for each of them, which due to the sensitive nature of the case has not yet been made public.

Indian Navy EPSNEW DELHI: The death sentence for the eight Indian naval veterans in Doha has been commuted to imprisonment. This was announced on Thursday during the hearing in the court of appeal in Doha. The period of imprisonment varies for each of the veterans.

“All eight naval veterans have been given different terms of imprisonment. The lowest is for Sailor Ragesh at three years. The terms for the other seven naval veterans varies from 10 years to over 25 years,” said a source adding that the case will now be heard in a court of cassation.

Thursday was the fourth hearing in the court of appeal. The earlier hearings were on November 23, November 30 and December 7.

The judgement has given details on why the years of imprisonment varies for each of them, which due to the sensitive nature of the case has not yet been made public.

The wives of all the veterans have been in Doha for sometime now, awaiting Thursday’s hearing. The failing health of the veterans has been a cause of concern for the wives as some of them have a loss of appetite while others are completely withdrawn.

The case has now shifted to the cassation court, which is the highest court of appeal in some judicial systems. Courts of cassation do not re-examine the facts of a case, they only interpret the relevant law. The term cassation is derived from the Latin word cassare which means to ‘reverse or overturn’.

The Indian Ambassador to Qatar, Vipul, and families of the naval veterans were present in the court of appeal on Thursday for the hearing.

“Our Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the Court of Appeal today, along with the family members. We have stood by them since the beginning of the matter and we will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities,” said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement after the judgement, details of which are awaited.

“The next hearing in the cassation court will take place in some days from now. On the ground not much has changed for the veterans. However, there is renewed hope that the last phase of the legal process which has just begun will end with the repatriation of these eight naval veterans, hopefully in a few months from now,” the source added.

The eight naval veterans, who have been under detention in Qatar since August 30, 2022, are Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vashisht, Commander Purnendu Tiwar, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, Commander Amit Nagpal and Sailor Ragesh.

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