Qatar: Former Indian Navy Officers Held Without Charges Denied Bail Again

Meetu Bhargava, whose brother is one of the detained former naval officers, said the detention was extended for another 30 days. The families' hopes "have crashed", she said.

New Delhi: Eight retired Indian Navy officers who have been in detention without charges in Qatar since August 2022 have been denied bail for the eighth time, according to reports.

The ex-Navy men, who were working for the private company Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services in Qatar, were training the Qatari Navy. But it is unclear why they were arrested by the State Security Bureau (SSB), the intelligence agency of Qatar.

On March 15, 2023, their bail plea was rejected for the eighth time, and their detention has been extended for another 30 days, according to the New Indian Express. Meetu Bhargava, whose brother is one of the detained former naval officers, told the newspaper, “Families can appeal against this on Sunday (March 19th) but our hopes have crashed.”

She questioned the fairness of keeping the eight men in solitary confinement without charges. She appealed to the Indian government, specifically Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to intervene and secure their release as soon as possible, according to TNIE.

According to the report, India has been “optimistic” about the repatriation of the eight men but “until now it has all been in vain”.

Even after multiple video conferences with Indian embassy officials and family members, no clear reason has emerged for the detention of the eight ex-Navy men.

According to The Week magazine, the Qatari officials’ suspicion may have been sparked by a “friendly conversation” between the eight ex-Navy men and an Indian diplomat posted in Doha three months before their arrest. While an anonymous source told the magazine that the conversation was “purely friendly banter”, it apparently raised concerns among Qatari authorities that secret information may have been exchanged.