Indian Ambassador granted consular access to 8 death row prisoners in Qatar

Indian Ambassador granted consular access to 8 death row prisoners in Qatar


The Indian Ambassador to Qatar was granted consular access to the eight Indian death row inmates being held in Doha on Sunday (December 3), according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Why did the 8 Naval officers get capital Punishment in Qatar?

  • A local court in Doha, Qatar, sentenced eight former Indian Navy soldiers to death.
  • They were charged with espionage and leaking sensitive information.
  • The individuals were allegedly involved in training security-related service providers for the State of Qatar while employed by Dahra Global Technologies and Consultant Services in Doha.
  • In addition, the company was involved in the production of high-tech Italian-origin submarines recognized for their stealth characteristics.

What is the response of the Indian Government on this matter? 

  • The Indian government expressed deep shock at the verdict.
  • They said that all legal possibilities were being investigated.
  • The accused have received consular and legal support from the government.
  • They intend to raise the issue with Qatari authorities.
  • The administration stressed the significance of the case and its commitment to assist.

How is this incident going to affect India’s Relationship with Qatar?

  • Qatar is India’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG), accounting for more than 48% of India’s total LNG imports.
  • Other items imported from Qatar include ethylene, propylene, ammonia, urea, and polyethene.
  • The verdict is the first big stumbling block in the India-Qatar relationship.
  • India and Qatar have a large number of Indian migrants in Qatar as well as tight commercial relations.
  • With high-level diplomatic meetings and economic collaboration, the relationship has been mostly steady.

What are the rules under the Geneva Convention for espionage?

  • The Geneva Convention applies only when there is an armed confrontation between two sides. The Third Geneva Convention does not protect spies. They are, nevertheless, protected under:
  • API Article 75.
  • They are entitled to the Fourth Geneva Convention if they match the nationality conditions.
  • Rule 107 of Customary International Humanitarian Law stipulates that a spy caught in the act may not be punished without a prior trial.
  • The Fourth Geneva Convention allows for the execution of protected people proven guilty of espionage. A spy’s communication rights may be revoked in occupied territory.

What are the recent developments in this case?

  • Access to Consular Services:
    • On December 3, the Indian Ambassador to Qatar was granted consular access to eight Indian death row inmates.
    • This access was granted in response to appeals filed by the prisoners’ families.
    • On November 23 and 30, two hearings were held in connection with the matter.
  • High-Level Gathering:
    • During the COP-28 meeting in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met informally with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
    • The information on consular access became available in the days following the conference.
  • Legal Counsel:
    • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is participating in the case actively, providing legal and consular help.
    • The case’s next hearing is set to take place soon.
  • Case Confidentiality:
    • Both India and Qatar have remained tight-lipped about the particular charges against the men.
    • The case is classified as a “sensitive” security problem.
  • Bail is denied:
    • Before being sentenced to death, all detained individuals were denied bail and placed in solitary prison.