India on Thursday said the appeal process against the death sentence handed down to eight former Indian Navy personnel by a Qatari court is under process and it was hopeful of a positive outcome from it. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is engaged with the Qatari authorities on the matter and that the government will continue to extend all legal and consular assistance to the Indian nationals.
The eight Indians were on October 26 given death sentences by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. India described the ruling as “deeply” shocking and vowed to explore all legal options in the case.
Days later, an appeal was filed against the death sentence.
“The case is currently in a legal process there. As we mentioned, an appeal has been filed in Qatar’s Court of Appeal. We are also engaged with the Qatari authorities on the matter and we will continue to extend all legal and consular assistance (to them),” Bagchi said.
“I would again urge everyone not to engage in speculation considering the sensitive nature of the case,” he said.
The judgement in the entire process has been made confidential by the Qatari side.
“The appeal process is underway and we would hope for a positive outcome,” Bagchi said, replying to a question on the matter at his weekly media briefing.
He also described as “factually incorrect” some reports that suggested the appeal in the case has been adjudicated.
The Indian nationals, who worked with private company Al Dahra, were arrested in August last year reportedly in an alleged case of espionage.
Neither the Qatari authorities nor New Delhi made the charges against the Indian nationals public.
In its reaction to the ruling by the Qatari court,the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) last month said that it is attaching “high importance” to this case and is exploring all legal options.
The charges were filed against the eight Indian navy veterans on March 25 and they were tried under Qatari law.
All of the former Navy officers had “unblemished stints” of up to 20 years in the Indian Navy and had held important positions including that of instructors in the force, former military officials had said.
In May Al-Dhara Global closed its operations in Doha and all those working there (primarily Indians) have since returned home.
In the past, the Navy had taken up the case of the former naval personnel with top brass of the government for securing their release.