Following the appeal hearing of eight former-Indian Navy servicemen who are incarcerated and sentenced to death in Qatar, sources have told The Quint that the next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 30 November.
The Quint had first reported on Wednesday, 23 November, that a Qatari court accepted the ex-servicemen's appeal document and will now study it to come to a decision in the case.
Our report added that during the first appeal hearing on Thursday, 23 November, the court "formally accepted the appeal document, which was prepared by a lawyer representing the families, supported by the Indian government, and will subsequently decide a date for the next appeal hearing."
Employees of Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, they were sentenced to death by the Court of First Instance in Qatar on 26 October – over a year after they were first detained without explanation in August 2022.
Sources told The Quint that the Indian Embassy in Qatar last received consular access to the ex-servicemen on 7 November.
The Quint had further spoken to sources close to the case regarding what is expected from the next hearing, reportedly on 30 November, who said,
"We are expecting more discussions and talks from the next hearing, which will happen soon, but there is also a small chance that the courts pass a judgment in the next hearing, as the Court of First Instance did back in October."
The men, who's families, along with bi-partisan politicians, have raised concern regarding the case and appealed for the eight ex-servicemen to be repatriated through legal and diplomatic channels.
In line with the hearing on Thursday, 23 November, a source close to several families of the retired servicemen told The Quint, under the condition of anonymity:
"This is what they get for being ex-military. The only reason they remain in prison, and the court did not let them go, is because they are formerly from the Indian military. Is it a crime to be a retired officer of the Indian Armed Forces?”
The ex-Navy servicemen, many of whom are highly decorated officers, have been identified as Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Birendra Kumar Verma, Captain Saurabh Vasisht, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Sugunakar Pakala, Commander Sanjeev Gupta, and Sailor Ragesh.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had previously confirmed on Thursday, 16 November, that the families, who have been working alongside the Indian government and embassy in Qatar, "formally submitted an appeal."
Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar had also met the families of the eight men and assured the families of the government's full support. He also stressed that the government attaches highest importance to the case.
On 30 October, The Quint had reported that during the approximately 1.5 hour-long meeting, EAM Jaishankar offered the Indian government’s "absolute support" and reiterated their belief in the men’s innocence.
A source within the MEA had told The Quint, “We are doing all we can to bring our men back home. We know that they are innocent and that the charges against them are unsubstantiated.