Qatar court to hear death sentence appeal of Indian former naval officers

New Delhi has tried to secure the release of the eight men found guilty of spying

The eight men were working on a submarine project in Doha at the time of their arrest, in August last year. Reuters
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A court in Qatar is to hear an appeal by India against the death sentences given to eight former naval officers found guilty of espionage.

India this month appealed against the sentences handed down to the men, who were arrested in August last year by Qatar’s intelligence agency.

A hearing is to take place soon, according to media reports in India. The country's External Affairs Ministry has not yet issued a comment.

Capt Navtej Singh Gill, Capt Saurabh Vasisht, Capt Birendra Kumar Verma, Cmdr Purenendu Tiwari, Cmdr Sanjeev Gupta, Cmdr Sugunakar Pakala, Cmdr Amit Nagpal and sailor Ragesh Gopakumar are the eight men on death row. All of them served at least 20 years with India's navy.

Indian authorities were given consular access to them and have tried to secure their release.

They worked in Doha for Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, an Oman-based private company that provided training and related services to Qatar's armed forces.

The specific charges against the men have not yet been made public by either country. Media reports have said they were accused of spying on behalf of Israel.

The men were reportedly working on a project to build midget submarines with stealth capabilities.

The owner of the company was also arrested, but was reportedly released in November last year.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 5:09 AM