Days after a Qatar accepted appeals against death sentence to eight former naval officials, Navy chief said that the government is “putting all-out efforts to ensure they are brought back” here.

“We are working closely to ensure that their interests are looked after,” Admiral R Hari Kumar said at a media interaction on the eve of Navy Day. Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff had also met the families of Navy veterans who had called on Kumar to seek support after the death sentence was announced. The eight, working for Al Dahra Global Technologies on a highly classified project to manufacture miniature submarines based on Italian technology, were arrested last August on charges of espionage.

“The government of India is putting all-out efforts to ensure they are brought back,” he stressed as the families wait for the hearing to start in the Qatar court. Qatar has three-tier judicial system which means that the mercy appeal will have to two higher courts before the matter is exhausted or judicial pardon is granted by top authorities, said sources informed.

Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar, after meeting the family of former Navy personnel on October 30, stated the government attaches the highest importance to the case and will continue to make all efforts to secure their release.

On October 26, the Navy veterans were given death sentence by Qatar’s Court of First Instance. India which has been in the loop described the harsh punishment as “deeply” shocking and assured that all legal options in the case would be explored. So far, the contents of death sentence order has not been made public either by Qatar authorities or by the families themselves.