March 25, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

German court sentences Iranian regime agent to prison for treason

German authorities have conducted criminal investigations into Iran for 22 cases of espionage, second only to Russia.
March 25, 2020 | The Jerusalem Post

German court sentences Iranian regime agent to prison for treason

German authorities have conducted criminal investigations into Iran for 22 cases of espionage, second only to Russia.

A court in the city of Koblenz on Monday sentenced a German-Afghani military translator to prison for treason for handing over state secrets to Iran’s intelligence agency.

The court said in a statement that Abdul Hamid S. “abused his position of responsibility as a translator and passed state secrets to an employee of the Iranian intelligence service, and his wife Asiea S. supported him in the treasonous activity.”

German federal prosecutors cited the army linguist only as Abdul Hamid S. His last name was not publicized due to privacy rules in Germany. Abdul confessed to the espionage crimes.

The Koblenz court imposed a six-year, 10-month sentence on the Kabul-born Abdul. His wife received a 10-month suspended sentence for aiding his espionage.

The public was barred from attending the trial due to the protection of state intelligence secrets.

Abdul met with agents of the Ministry of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MOIS) between 2013 and 2017 in various European cities. He delivered site plans of the German armed forces, as well as analysis material of the German defense department covering certain “countries and topics,” to the ministry.

The Iranian intelligence agency paid him $37,000. According to the court, Abdul was involved in at least eight meetings with MOIS.  The court could not determine what motivated Abdul to transfer state secrets to the agency. Abdul’s wife had knowledge of his espionage activities from early 2016, and supported him by booking his trips. The German authorities arrested Abdul in 2019 in the south-west state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Abdul and his wife can appeal the court ruling.

Germany is widely considered a hot spot for Iranian espionage activities. Iran’s regime has conducted murders and planned assassination attempts in Germany over the years.

The Jerusalem Post previously reported that the German Interior Ministry said that Iran had been one of the most active espionage nations in the Federal Republic between 2007 and 2017, including assassination attempts on Israel advocates.

German authorities conducted criminal investigations into Iran for 22 cases of espionage, second only to Russia’s illicit spy activity with 27 cases. China and Turkey both registered 15 spy cases. Syrian agents were involved in eight espionage operations.

In 2017, a Berlin court sentenced 31-year-old Pakistani citizen Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi to four years and three months in prison for working for Iran’s intelligence service to spy “against Germany and another NATO member.”

According to German prosecutors, Haidar Syed-Naqfi was assigned to identify Israeli and Jewish institutions and Israel advocates in Germany, France and other unnamed Western European countries for possible attacks. He monitored a German-Jewish newspaper’s headquarters in Berlin, as well as Reinhold Robbe, former head of the German-Israel Friendship Society.

Syed-Naqfi spied on French-Israeli business Prof. David Rouach, who teaches at the elite Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and served as head of the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce. According to German authorities, his actions were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”

The Quds Force – a US-classified terrorist entity that is part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps – paid Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016.

The German government declined to expel Iranian diplomats for the planned murder attempts and spying. Instead, Germany summoned Iran’s ambassador to warn the Islamic Republic against spying on individuals and groups with ties to the Jewish state.

In 1992, Iran’s regime and its chief proxy Hezbollah murdered Kurdish dissidents in a West Berlin restaurant.

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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