COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A Sri Lankan court on Thursday sentenced five Indian fishermen and three locals to death for smuggling narcotics.

No one has been executed in Sri Lanka since 1976 because the country has a moratorium on the death penalty. However, prisoners can still be executed if the president ratifies the sentence.

Attorney Sharafi Mohideen, who appeared for the Indians, said they would appeal the sentence.

India's External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said that according to his country's assessment, the fishermen are innocent. He said India will "pursue their innocence through the Sri Lankan judicial process."

The fishermen have been in Sri Lankan custody for the past two years.