An appeal has been lodged against the death sentence imposed on eight former Indian Navy personnel by a Qatari court last month, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed that the Indian embassy in Doha received consular access to the detained individuals on Tuesday. Bagchi assured that New Delhi would continue to provide legal and consular assistance to the accused.
The eight former Indian Navy personnel were sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance on October 26. India expressed deep shock at the ruling and vowed to explore all legal avenues in the case.
Bagchi emphasised that the judgment is confidential, shared only with the legal team, and an appeal has now been filed. The appeal was submitted by the legal representatives of the detained Indian nationals.
Bagchi informed that the Indian embassy in Doha facilitated another consular access to the detainees on November 7. He reiterated that New Delhi remains in contact with the family members and highlighted that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had met them earlier this month in New Delhi. Bagchi urged against engaging in speculation given the sensitive nature of the case.
The Indian nationals, who were employed by the private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year in an alleged case of espionage. The specific charges against them have not been made public by either the Qatari authorities or the Indian government.
The former Navy officers, with unblemished service records of up to 20 years, held significant positions, including instructors in the Indian Navy.
Al-Dhara Global, the company in question, ceased operations in Doha in May, leading to the return of its primarily Indian workforce to their home country. The Indian Navy had previously advocated for the release of the former naval personnel, raising the issue with the government's top brass.
The case remains a matter of high importance for the Indian authorities, prompting them to explore all legal options to secure a favourable outcome for the accused veterans.