New Delhi: India welcomed the verdict of the Appeal Court of Qatar on Thursday, which reduced the death sentences of eight former Indian Navy officers who were convicted of espionage charges. The Foreign Ministry said that it was awaiting the detailed decision and was in close contact with the legal team and the family members of the accused to decide the next steps.
The Foreign Ministry also said that the Indian Ambassador to Qatar and other officials were present in the court along with the family members of the accused. It said that it had been providing all consular and legal assistance to them since the beginning of the case and would continue to do so. It also said that it would continue to raise the issue with the Qatari authorities. However, it refrained from making any further comments due to the confidential and sensitive nature of the case.
The eight former Indian naval officers, who worked with a private company called Al Dahra that offered training and services to the Qatari armed forces, were arrested in August 2022 on suspicion of spying for Israel. They were allegedly involved in gathering intelligence on Qatar’s secret project to acquire stealth-capable submarines from Italy. In October 2023, a Qatari court sentenced them to death, which shocked India. India then contacted the Qatari administration and appealed against the verdict. The latest decision of the Appeal Court has given a big relief to the accused and their families.