Death penalty in Qatar: kin of former Navy officer urge Centre to step up efforts to get the sentence abolished

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has good relations with the Emir of Qatar, and only he and Union Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar can get it done, says Kapur Kalyan Chakravarthy, brother-in-law of Commander Sugunakar Pakala, who is one of the eight officers awarded death sentence

October 27, 2023 07:49 pm | Updated 07:49 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Expressing satisfaction over the efforts being made by the Union Government, especially the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Qatar, in getting the death sentence awarded to eight former Navy officers abolished and securing their early repatriation, Kapur Kalyan Chakravarthy, brother-in-law of Commander Sugunakar Pakala, who is one among the eight officers, says the government “needs to step up its efforts further.”

Addressing the media here on October 27, he said, “The family members of the officers are in distress and shattered on hearing the death sentence pronounced by a Qatar court on October 26. We request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take it up with the Government of Qatar and get the sentence abolished and seek their release.”

‘No evidence of espionage’

“There is no concrete evidence of espionage against any of the officers, and the charges of the Qatari officials that they (the officers) are spying for Israel is unfounded and baseless,” Mr. Kalyan Chakravarthy said.

As per our knowledge, the Qatari officials were suspicious of the friendly exchange of conversations and phone calls between friends and colleagues, who happened to be military attaches of India, he added.

“Qatar is a friendly nation and Mr. Modi has good relations with the Emir of Qatar, and only he and Union Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar can get it done,” said Mr. Kalyan Chakravarthy.

He also said that all the former officers were picked up at midnight on August 29, 2022, by the Qatari officials, and we were kept in the dark for about 60 days. We thought that they had gone missing.

Commander Sugunakar Pakala had last come to Visakhapatnam to meet his family in July 2022. “The Indian Embassy, the MEA officials, and the Indian Navy are supporting us, but we need some extra effort to secure their release, as they are all decorated naval officers,” Mr. Kalyan Chakravarthy added.

Commander Sugunakar Pakala, a native of Visakhapatnam, had retired from service in 2013. He had worked for Hindustan Shipyard for a brief period, before moving to Qatar in 2018 to work for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultant Services.

“The CEO of the company has been released. The company has downed its shutters, and even its website is removed from the Internet,” Mr. Kalyan Chakravarthy said.

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