Qatar extends ex-Navymen’s custody by a month, families say
Eight former Navy officers’ families found out on Sunday that their custody was extended by one month at a court hearing in Qatar.
According to family sources, company officials told them the news.
During the night of August 30, Qatari State Security picked them up. Since then, they’ve been in solitary confinement, and no charges have been filed against them. Families of the detainees have requested that New Delhi expedite their release.
Their employer, Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, provided training and maintenance services for the Qatari Navy and logistics support.
The Deccan Era emailed Dahra headquarters in Muscat, Oman, and is waiting for a response.
Family members told company officials that a three-judge bench granted the men one more month of custody on Sunday. Although they were at the hearing, they didn’t talk much with the men. December 1 is the start of the 30-day extension. Family sources said the charges against the men weren’t discussed at the hearing.
“It’s ironic that today is Navy Day when eight decorated Navy veterans are languishing in solitary confinement in Doha for three months now, and the government hasn’t done anything,” said a family member of one of the detained men.
Admiral R Hari Kumar, speaking at a press conference before Navy Day, said the issue had been raised with the Qatari authorities by the “highest levels of government”.
The eight men are also being urged to be released by a veteran’s group.
Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asking for help releasing and repatriating the men and also asking him to meet with the families and members.
A copy of the letter was sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh following a low-intensity Twitter campaign on the release of the men.
Earlier this week, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the government and the Indian embassy in Qatar were working hard to get him out. When asked about the charges, he said, “If there are reasons for an arrest or detention, I’d refer you to the Qatari government.” “I’m not the right person to comment on that.”
Qatari authorities have recently allowed family members to visit detained men. Only two men’s wives live in Doha, while the rest live in different states across the country.
The Indian embassy in Doha hosted a virtual “open house” meeting on November for consular issues. Family members got to talk to Ambassador Deepak Mittal. There’s no timeline for the release, the Deccan Era has learned.
When Jagdeep Dhankar went to Qatar for the opening of the World Cup, the families hoped he’d raise the issue.
At least two of the family members met Defence Minister Singh, and some met V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs. Family members who met Singh say they’re seized with the matter and trying to resolve it, but all eight Navy veterans are still in solitary confinement at the end of the day.