Danish court finds 3 Iranians guilty of spying for Saudis

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Three members of an Iranian separatist group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, were found guilty in a Danish court on Friday of encouraging terror in Iran and gathering information for an anonymous Saudi intelligence service.

The court in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, said it collected information about individuals and organizations in Denmark and abroad and Iranian military affairs, and passed that information on to a Saudi intelligence service.

The men, who have not been identified under Danish rules, face up to 12 years in prison. Roskilde District Court said a sentencing would be handed down in March.

The three were arrested in February 2020 in Ringsted, 60 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Copenhagen.

The court said most of the proceedings were held behind closed doors due to “relations with foreign powers and for the safety of the defendants and others”. The men pleaded not guilty, the court added.

The case of the three members of the London-based group was linked to a case in the Netherlands where police arrested a 40-year-old man. Dutch police said part of the ASMLA movement has an armed wing that carries out attacks in Iran, mainly against Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as well as oil and gas fields.

It was also linked to a 2018 police operation in Denmark regarding an alleged Iranian plot to kill one or more opponents of the Iranian government. The operation briefly cut off the island on which Copenhagen sits from the rest of Denmark.

Tehran has accused ASMLA of attacking a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz in September 2018, which left at least 25 people dead. The group condemned the violence and said it was not involved. The Danish court said it had found one of the three to be guilty of expressing approval of the attack.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service opened an investigation into the case involving the three men in November 2018.

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