Eight former Indian naval personnel, the specifics of which neither Qatar nor India have acknowledged, had their death sentences commuted by a Qatari court.
In a statement, the Indian foreign ministry acknowledged the reduction in sentences but did not elaborate on the details of the revised punishments.
Unverified claims from Reuters and the Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, claim that the policemen were accused of spying for Israel. The embassy of Israel in India, however, chose not to respond, stating that it was “not an Israeli matter.” There is little information available about the charges because of the case’s confidentiality, and the court’s order is still unknown.
When the death sentences were first announced in October, the government of India expressed extreme shock, which led them to submit an appeal against the decision. The court withheld the identities of the detained persons, who were reportedly ex-Indian Navy officers employed by the private business Al Dahra.
The relatives of some of the men verified to local media that they had served in the Navy, despite the Indian government’s formal description of them as “ex-servicemen” before parliament. Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar appreciated their work at Al Dahra last year.
A recent move involved the visit of India’s ambassador to Qatar with the detained individuals, and Indian officials were present in the Court of Appeal of Qatar on Thursday along with family members.