(USNewsMag.com) – Eight former Indian naval officers were sentenced to death by the Qatari government last week for allegedly acting as foreign spies for Israel.
Doha, the capital city and financial center of Qatar, has been acting as a mediator in negotiations between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of civilian hostages taken into Gaza by Hamas after the October 7 attack on the Jewish State. At least 222 hostages remain in the custody of the radical militant Islamic group after their coordinated attack earlier this month killed an estimated 1,400 people.
The Indian government expressed “deep shock” after the verdict last Thursday and said they are exploring “all legal options.” According to the Financial Times and Times of Israel, the eight former naval officers were arrested in August 2022 and charged with spying on Qatar’s submarine program on behalf of Israel. According to reports in the Indian press, the retired naval officers were employed by a consulting company tasked with advising the Qatari government on acquiring submarines.
Hamas, which has offices in Doha, is demanding that Israel cease bombing Gaza and allow aid to flow into the region in exchange for the release of more hostages. A senior Qatari negotiator, Dr. Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, says that all hostages can only be released when there’s a pause in Israel’s siege. Al-Khulaifi said that “any escalation whatsoever” will only make their job “harder.”
India is Qatar’s second-biggest trade partner, and the latest death sentences pose a risk to relations between the two countries. The death penalty is a rare occurrence in Qatar. The last time the Gulf State put a prisoner to death was in 2020, and before that, in 2003.
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