Pardon eludes former Indian navy personnel on death row in Qatar : The Tribune India

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Pardon eludes former Indian navy personnel on death row in Qatar

Royal pardon did not come through due to technical reasons, hopes now rest on either appeal succeeding in courts or Emir pardoning Navy men during Ramzan

Pardon eludes former Indian navy personnel on death row in Qatar

In 2016, during PM Modi’s visit to Qatar which coincided with Ramzan, the Qatar Emir released 23 Indian prisoners. iStock



Tribune News Service

Sandeep Dikshit

New Delhi, December 19

The National Day of Qatar on Monday ended in disappointment for the eight ex-Indian Navy officialson death rowin Dohaafter a royal pardon eluded them due to technical reasons.

There were expectations among the families of the convicted men that Kuwait Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani might let them off with some other prisoners released on the National day.

Hopes also rest on PM Narendra Modi appealing to the Qatar Emir for clemency or international circumstances compelling a release of prisoners

Hopes had initially arisen after the Amiri Dewan, the Emir’s administrative office, said an order was issued on December 14 pardoning a number of prisoners. As it did not have further details, hopes rested on the detailed list that was released on December 18 but it did not have the eight names the Indian families were looking for due to a technical reason – their appeals against the deathsentence were being heard at a higher court.

On Monday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had conveyed National Day greetings to Qatar’s PM and Foreign Minister but he made no mention about the eight ex-navy men.

Hopes now rest on either the appeal succeeding in the courts or the Emir pardoning the former Indian Navy men during Ramzan which fall in March-April of next year.

Hopes also rest on PM Narendra Modi appealing to the Qatar Emir for clemency or international circumstances compelling a release of prisoners. For instance, under western pressure over the murder of their asset Jamal Khashoggi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman needed to display a magnanimous streak elsewhere which he did by releasing 850 prisoners in 2019 at the request of PM Narendra Modi.

Gulf nations also release prisoners on the occasion of a high level incoming visit. In 2016, during PM Modi’s visit to Qatar which coincided with Ramzan, the Qatar Emir released 23 Indian prisoners.

Another aspect weighing in favour of the death row convicts is that Qatar has not executed a prisoner for the past five years. Today, it would be loath to do so at a time when the international order is in a flux and Doha has played a crucial role in Afghanistan and is doing so in case of the Hamas-Israel conflict.

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