Eight Indian nationals were handed the death penalty at the Court of First Instance in Qatar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.
The defendants, who are former naval officers, have been imprisoned in Qatar since October 2022 and were accused of allegedly spying on a submarine programme.
The MEA said it was “deeply shocked” by the verdict and now awaited the detailed judgement.
“We have initial information that the Court of First Instance of Qatar has today passed a judgement in the case involving eight Indian employees of Al Dahra Company,” the MEA said in an official press release.
“We are in touch with the family members and the legal team, and we are exploring all legal options,” it added.
The ministry said it had been keeping a close eye on the case and would continue to extend all consular and legal assistance.
“We will also take up the verdict with Qatari authorities,” it added. “Due to the confidential nature of proceedings of this case, it would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this juncture.”
New Delhi had been granted consular access to the eight Indians and had been working to secure their release. The Indian nationals had their first trial in late March.
Meetu Bhargava, the sister of one of the detained officers, sought help from the Indian government to bring her brother back.
In a post on X on June 8, she had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.
“These Ex Navy officers are the pride of the nation & again I request our Hon’ble Prime Minister with folded hands that it is high time that they all are brought back to India immediately without any further delay pl. @narendramodi @AmitShah @rajnathsingh @MOS_MEA” she posted on X.