India on Thursday said an appeal had been filed in Qatar against the death sentence handed to eight Indian naval veterans by a Qatari court last month.

While exercising all the legal options available, India is also using diplomatic channels to secure clemency for the veterans.

Asked about the status of the case on which there is very little information in the public domain, external affairs ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said the judgement of the Court of First Instance of Qatar announced on October 26 was confidential and had 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,” Bagchi said, adding that the embassy in Doha got another consular access to the detainees on Tuesday.

Stating that India would extend all legal and consular assistance, the spokesman urged the media to avoid speculation.

The seven retired officers of the Indian Navy and one sailor were sentenced to death by the Qatar court on charges that had not been made public despite them being in custody for over a year. Neither country has divulged details on the case. There have been some media reports suggesting that the eight former naval personnel were arrested for spying on Qatar’s submarine programme for Israel but there has never been an official confirmation.

All of the eight sentenced to death were working for Al Dahra Global Technologies and Consultancy Services, a defence services-providing company owned by an ex-Omani Air Force officer. The company provided training and other services to Qatar’s armed forces and security agencies.