Qatar court hands down death penalty verdict for eight Indians – India govt

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -A Qatar court has announced the death penalty for eight Indians arrested in the country last year, the Indian government said on Thursday, adding it was “deeply shocked” by the verdict.

New Delhi said in a statement that it attaches “high importance to this case” and will “take up the verdict with Qatari authorities”.

Local media has reported that the eight men, who worked with a private company in Qatar, were arrested for spying in August 2022, but Reuters could not independently confirm the charges.

Neither the Indian government nor the Qatari authorities have made the charges against the men, who are all former Indian navy officials, public.

A spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Thursday’s government statement said that it would “not be appropriate to make any further comments at this stage” due to the “confidential nature of the proceedings”.

Indian foreign ministry officials, including Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, have earlier said that the exact nature of the charges against the eight Indian men is “not entirely clear”.

More than 800,000 Indian citizens live and work in Qatar.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik; Editing by Sharon Singleton)