Trial begins for two Swedes charged with spying for Russia

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STOCKHOLM — Two Iranian-born Swedish brothers have been on trial in Sweden Friday, charged with spying for Russia and its navy intelligence service GRU for a decade.

Peyman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35, appeared earlier than the Stockholm District Court docket to face fees of getting labored collectively to go data to Russia between Sept. 28, 2011, and Sept. 20, 2021.

Between 2014 and 2015, Peyman Kia labored for Sweden’s home intelligence company but additionally for the nation’s armed forces. Swedish prosecutors allege that the information they gave the Russians originated from a number of authorities throughout the Swedish safety and intelligence service, identified by its acronym SAPO.

Swedish media reported that Peyman Kia labored for the armed forces’ international protection intelligence company, identified in Sweden by its acronym MUST, and labored with a prime secret unit throughout the company that handled Swedish spies overseas.

Intelligence skilled Joakim von Braun instructed Swedish broadcaster SVT that although many particulars stay unknown, it gave the impression to be one in all most damaging circumstances of espionage in Sweden’s historical past as a result of the boys compiled a listing of all the workers inside SAPO.

“That alone is a big problem because Russian intelligence focuses on human sources,” von Braun mentioned.

“The material is the absolute most secret material available,” prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist instructed the court docket. “It is an unusual trial in that a similar case has not appeared in Sweden in over 20 years.”

Certainly one of Sweden’s largest spy scandals passed off through the Chilly Warfare when Stig Bergling, a Swedish safety officer who labored for each SAPO and the armed forces, bought secrets and techniques to the Soviet Union. He was sentenced in 1979 to life imprisonment on related fees and later escaped whereas serving his time, returned voluntarily to Sweden in 1994. He died in his native nation in January 2015.

Peyman Kia was arrested in September 2021 and his brother in November 2021. Each denied any wrongdoing, their protection attorneys instructed the court docket.

Payam Kia, 35, helped his brother and “dismantled and broke a hard drive which was later found in a trash can” when his brother was arrested, in response to the cost sheet obtained by The Related Press.

The naturalized Swedish residents face sentences as much as life imprisonment if convicted.

In a separate, unrelated case, Swedish authorities on Thursday launched one in all two individuals arrested this week on suspicion of spying towards Sweden and one other, unnamed international energy.

The launched particular person stays a suspect and authorities didn’t clarify why the opposite particular person was stored in custody.

The 2 have been arrested Tuesday in a predawn operation within the Stockholm space. Authorities have given few particulars concerning the case, however Swedish media cited witnesses who described elite police rappelling from two Black Hawk helicopters to arrest them.

In accordance with Swedish studies, the 2 are a pair and are each Russians who arrived in Sweden within the late Nineties. The AP couldn’t independently verify these studies.

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