2 Swedes get long sentences in Russian espionage case

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (UKTN) — Two Iranian-born Swedish brothers were sentenced Thursday to lengthy prison terms for spying for Russia and its military intelligence agency GRU for a decade.

The elder of the two naturalized Swedes – Peyman Kia – was sentenced to life, while his younger brother, Payam Kia, was sentenced to nine years and ten months. They had appeared in Stockholm court where they were charged with collaborating to pass information to Russia between September 28, 2011 and September 20, 2021.

A life sentence in Sweden generally means a minimum of 20 to 25 years in prison.

“It is beyond reasonable doubt that the brothers, together and in concert, obtained, forwarded and disclosed information without consent and for the benefit of Russia and the GRU” to a foreign power for the purpose of harming Sweden’s security, it said. the court. in his verdict.

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The Stockholm court said that Payam Kia was “the driving force behind their joint crime”, while Peyman Kia’s involvement was “of lesser relative importance”.

Almost the entire process took place behind closed doors and much information from the preliminary investigation is classified.

Between 2014 and 2015, Peyman Kia, 42, worked for Sweden’s domestic intelligence service, as well as the country’s armed forces. Swedish prosecutors claim that the data they provided to the Russians comes from various authorities within Sweden’s security and intelligence agency, known by its abbreviation SAPO.

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According to Swedish media, Peyman Kia reportedly worked for the Armed Forces’ Foreign Defense Intelligence Service, known in Sweden by its abbreviation MUST, and worked with a top-secret unit within the agency dealing with Swedish spies abroad.

Peyman Kia was arrested in September 2021 and his brother in November 2021. Both denied any wrongdoing, their lawyers told the court.

Payam Kia, 35, was helping his brother and “dismantled and broke a hard drive that was later found in a garbage can” when his brother was arrested, according to the indictment form obtained by The UK Time News.

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The case is considered one of the most damaging espionage cases in Sweden’s history, as the men had compiled a list of all employees within SAPO.

One of Sweden’s biggest espionage scandals occurred during the Cold War when Stig Bergling, a Swedish security officer who worked for both SAPO and the armed forces, sold secrets to the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1979 on similar charges and later escaped while serving his time, voluntarily returning to Sweden in 1994. He died in his native country in January 2015.

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