Qatar has cancelled the death sentence of all eight Indian Navy veterans.
The viral claim is false, the Qatar government has not made any such official announcement yet.
Several social media users are claiming that Qatar recently quashed the death sentence handed to eight former personnel of the Indian Navy who were arrested in an alleged case of espionage, as the Gulf state valued its friendship with India.
The archived version of the tweet can be seen here. We received this claim on our Whatsapp tipline (9999499044), too, requesting us to fact-check it.
Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Qatar cancellation of death sentence”, which did not find any credible news reports of such an announcement. We looked up the official X account of Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar, where we did not find any relevant tweet.
We found a Hindustan Times report on December 1, 2023, headlined, “All-out effort to ensure return of veterans on death row in Qatar: Navy chief”, where Indian Navy chief admiral R Hari stated, “All the former naval officers present in Qatar are very experienced. The Government of India is making every possible effort to ensure the return of all of them,” indicating that negotiations were going on.
A Qatari court had on October 26, 2023, sentenced the eight Indian citizens who worked for a private company in Doha, the capital of Qatar. In November, a court of appeal in Qatar reportedly accepted the Indian government’s application against the death sentence. The government is engaged with the authorities in Qatar to find a resolution to the issue that has cast a shadow on bilateral ties. The next hearing will be on December 7. All the Indians — Captain Navtej Singh Gill, Captain Saurabh Vashishtha, Commander Purnendu Tiwari, Commander Amit Nagpal, Commander SK Gupta, Commander BK Verma, Commander Sugunakar Pakala and Sailor Ragesh — were arrested in August 2022
We got in touch with Bayan Hamdan, from Arab fact-checking outlet Misbar, who refuted the viral claim, saying, “No such announcement has been made by the Qatar government”. We also contacted the Ministry of External Affairs and the families of the Indians sentenced to death. We will update the story once we receive a response.
Viral claim stating that Qatar quashed death sentences of eight Indians found to be false.
HT report, December 1, 2023
Conversation With Misbar Fact-Checker Bayan Hamdan
(This report was originally published in Newschecker Hindi by Runjay Kumar)