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Why did Qatar release former Indian officers accused of spying for Israel?

The former India navy officers were originally sentenced to death, spiking tensions between the two countries.

India announced on Monday that a group of former navy officers have been released from detention in Qatar, bringing an end to a months-long spat between the two countries related to Israeli espionage charges that prompted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Qatar.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that eight Indian citizens working for the company Dahra Global had been released and seven of them had subsequently returned to India. The statement expressed appreciation for the emir's decision.

What happened: The eight former Indian navy officers were first arrested in August of 2022. In October of last year, they were sentenced to death by a Qatari court, reportedly for spying on behalf of Israel. The Indian government filed an appeal in November and the sentences were commuted to lesser ones the following month, according to Indian media.

Many details surrounding the case remain a mystery. The Hindustan Times reported in October that the eight officers were former warship commanders and that Dahra provided training to Qatar’s armed forces. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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