New Delhi [India]: A Qatari court has accepted the appeal document on the sentencing of eight former Indian naval personnel to death, sources familiar with the matter said.
An appeal was filed by India against the death penalty awarded to the eight Indian ex-Navy personnel in Qatar.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), on November 9, stated that the judgment remains "confidential", adding that the appeal was filed in the case.
The MEA also urged everyone to refrain from "engaging in speculation" due to the sensitive nature of the case, adding that the Indian embassy received another consular access on November 7.
MEA chief spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said earlier, "Qatar's court passed a judgement on October 26 in the case involving 8 employees of Al Dara company."
Bagchi added that the retired naval personnel were sentenced to death by a Qatar court on charges that have not yet been made public officially.
"They (the legal team) are now pursuing further legal steps and an appeal has already been filed," he said.
"The judgment is confidential and has only been shared with the legal team. They are now pursuing further legal steps and an appeal has already been filed. We will also remain engaged with the Qatari authorities in this matter," the MEA spokesperson said at a weekly media briefing earlier.
The MEA has been actively coordinating with the Qatari authorities and secured consular access on November 7.
Further, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has also met with the family members of the former naval personnel, who have been sentenced.
"On November 7, the Indian embassy in Doha received another consular access to the detainees," Bagchi informed during the media briefing, adding, "We are in touch with their family members too. External Affairs Minister met the family members earlier this month in New Delhi."
The eight former Indian Navy personnel were employees of Dahra Global, a Doha-based private defence services provider. They were arrested in August 2022 for alleged espionage.
India called the ruling 'deeply shocking' and deployed all diplomatic channels to engage with Qatar on this case.
"We will continue to extend legal and consular support and I would urge everyone not to engage in speculation considering the sensitive nature of the case," Bagchi added.
Meanwhile, the families and friends of the eight former Indian Navy personnel are hopeful for early relief. In the absence of any concrete information on the trial in Qatar, the families feel there are a lot of misconceptions originating in the West Asian media on the issue.
A close relative of one of the men detained in Qatar, on the condition of anonymity, said wrong information was put out by several local media outlets in West Asia alleging that the former naval personnel were accused of spying on a submarine project run by Qatar.
According to the relative, the ex-Indian Navy men were not engaged in espionage but had gone to Qatar to help with the country's naval program. Qatar has also not made any proof public to substantiate these allegations of spying.
The kin of the former naval personnel said the wrong information circulated could further endanger the situation that their loved ones find themselves in.
The kin said the eight retired naval personnel served the nation with the highest integrity and honour, adding that were extremely distraught and traumatised by their year-long detention. What has further hurt them is the fact that the circumstance of the detention has been misreported, they added.
The families urged that the matter be reported and handled more sensitively.
Notably, on October 30, the families of the detained ex-naval personnel met with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, who assured them of full government support.