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India says Qatar reduced sentence of death row ex-navy personnel

India’s foreign ministry said Thursday that Qatar had reduced the sentence of eight ex-navy personnel, arrested reportedly for spying for Israel and put on death row. Indian media have reported that the eight Indian nationals — among them former high-ranking and decorated officers, including captains who once commanded warships — were arrested in Doha in August 2022. In October, India said it was “shocked” after a Qatari court had sentenced them to death. On Thursday, the foreign ministry said in a statement that the “sentences have been reduced”, without giving further details. Qatar has not commented on the case and the charges have not been made public. India’s ambassador and family members were in court for the appeal hearing, New Delhi said, adding that the government will “continue to take up the matter with the Qatari authorities”. It said further comment was not appropriate “due to the confidential and sensitive nature” of the case. The eight men were employees of Al Dahra, a Gulf-based company that offers “complete support solutions” to the aerospace, security and defence sectors, according to its website. The Hindu newspaper reported the men were spying for a “third country”, while the Times of India has said that “various reports claimed they were accused of spying for Israel”. Israel’s government has not commented on the case. Qatar, which hosts a political bureau for Hamas and has provided financial aid to Gaza, has been linked to mediation efforts for a prisoner exchange between the Palestinian armed group and Israel.

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