Qatar frees eight Indians months after dropping death sentences

Qatar has released eight Indian ex-naval officers after dropping their death sentences, India's foreign ministry said on Monday, crediting the Qatari Emir for the decision more than 18 months after their arrest.

Their death sentence, handed down in October, was dropped in December.

India said seven of these officers have returned to the country.

New Delhi engaged in talks for months with Qatar after the men were arrested in August 2022 and the case challenged ties with Doha.

"We appreciate the decision by the Emir of the State of Qatar to enable the release and home-coming of these nationals," the ministry said. The men were working on a submarine project with a private company for the Qatari authorities at the time of their arrest.

The announcement came days after Qatari and Indian firms signed their biggest single deal for supplies of liquefied natural gas.

It was last December that Modi met Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

More than 800,000 Indian citizens live and work in Qatar.

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