India appeals against death penalty to 8 Navy veterans in Qatar

India has filed an appeal with Qatar over the death penalty to eight former Navy personnel, who were arrested in August last year over “confidential” reasons. Further legal steps are also being pursued.

“As we have informed earlier, the Court of First Instance of Qatar passed a judgement on October 26 in the case involving 8 Indian employees of Al Dahra company. The judgment is confidential and has only been shared with the legal team. They are now pursuing further legal steps and an appeal has been filed. We will also remain engaged with the Qatari authorities on this matter,” said Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, at a press briefing on Thursday.

Consular access

The Indian Embassy in Qatar received another consular access to the detainees on November 7, he said. “We are in touch with the family members too and the EAM met them earlier this month in New Delhi. We will continue to extend all legal and consular assistance. I would urge everyone not to engage in speculation considering the sensitive nature of the case,” Bagchi added.

On whether India’s ongoing diplomatic spat with Canada will be discussed at the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi on Friday, Bagchi said that India was open to discussing all issues. “The 2+2 is tomorrow… The US Secretary of Defence has just landed and we are expecting the Secretary (of State) later in the evening… Considering the nature of our relationship and the global strategic partnership, a variety of issues can be discussed including topical issues, regional developments… On Canada, if they wish to discuss we are happy to discuss all issues,” Bagchi said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin are visiting India to attend the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue that they will co-chair with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

In September this year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that hat he has “credible information” about India’s link in the killing of Khalistani militant Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs had rejected the claims and said Ottawa did not offer any “proof” that could ascertain the Canadian PM’s claim. This has led to a diplomatic stand-off between the two countries which continues.

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