Qatar Releases Eight Ex-Indian Naval Officers Convicted of Espionage

Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin Camarena
Joaquin completed his undergraduate and graduate education at a Texas university and has studied extensively in China. As a former Marine Corps intelligence analyst, he worked in the Indo-Pacific region. His areas of expertise include PLA modernization, particularly PLAN/PLANMC and its expeditionary capabilities, as well as CCP and Chinese domestic politics. He also runs the Sino Talk brand on Instagram and Twitter and is the IndoPacific Desk Chief for Atlas.

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What Happened

Qatar released eight retired Indian naval officers convicted on espionage charges related to spying on behalf of Israel. The eight individuals were employees of Al Zahira Al-Alami Consultancy and Services, which provided various services to the Qatari Navy.

The Indian External Affairs Ministry (Foreign Affairs or State Department) issued a statement saying they welcomed “the release of the eight Indian nationals.” The press release also said that seven of the eight individuals have returned to India. The Ministry also said that India appreciates “the decision by the Amir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming.”

The country’s intelligence agency, the Qatar Security Service, arrested the individuals in August 2023 in the capital of Doha. Qatar subsequently charged the eight with allegedly providing Israel with “confidential information” about the Qatari Navy’s stealth submarine project. A Qatari court found them guilty and sentenced them to death in October 2023, with neither the Indian nor Qatari governments releasing information regarding the charges.

However, India appealed the death sentence on behalf of the group, which saw Qatari authorities commute the sentences in December of last year.