Eight Indians were sentenced to death in Qatar this week and reportedly stand accused of spying for Israel. The former naval officers had been working for Al Dahra company on a submarine project for the Qatari authorities when they were detained more than a year ago.
The Ministry of External Affairs is currently ‘exploring legal options’ and intends to take the matter up with officials in the other country.
Sources in India and Qatar told Reuters that the former naval officers have been charged with spying for Israel and will be able to appeal the death sentence. Details however remained scarce with officials from both countries yet to elaborate on the charges and allegations against the group.
Bloomberg quoted an unnamed individual familiar with the matter to add that the eight men had been involved in training the Qatari navy. The publication said they were sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance for alleged espionage.
C Kalyan Chakravarthy – the brother-in-law of detained veteran Sugunakar Pakala – meanwhile told reporters that the allegations were ‘completely false and baseless’.
“All of these men are above 50 years old and they went to Doha to earn their livelihood. Why would they spy and for what benefit? So, I requested the Indian Government to get my jijaji and other men to India,” he was quoted as saying.
According to reports New Delhi is now considering an appeal against the death sentence handed down to the former Navy staffers.
“We are deeply shocked by the verdict of the death penalty and are awaiting the detailed judgement. We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options. We attach high importance to this case, and have been following it closely. We will continue to extend all consular and legal assistance. We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities,” the MEA had said soon after the verdict came to light.
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