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2 Iranian-Born Swedes Receive Long-Term Sentences In Russian Spying Case

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2 Iranian-Born Swedes Receive Long-Term Sentences In Russian Spying Case

(CTN NEWS) – COPENHAGEN, Denmark –  In the worst espionage case the Scandinavian nation has seen in decades, two Iranian-born Swedish brothers were sentenced to significant prison on Thursday for spying for Russia and its military intelligence service GRU for a decade.

Peyman Kia, the older of the two naturalized Swedes, received a life sentence, while Payam Kia received nine years and ten month sentence.

They were charged with egregious espionage for allegedly working together to transfer information to Russia between September 28, 2011, and September 20, 2021, when they appeared before the Stockholm District Court.

In Sweden, a life sentence often entails 20 to 25 years behind bars.

Peyman Kia’s lawyer, Anton Strand, said that his client would appeal the verdict, but the younger brother’s lawyer, Björn Sandin, claimed that it had not yet been decided whether to appeal or not.

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Judge Mans Wigen holds a press conference following the verdict in the case of two Swedish brothers charged with spying for Russia at the District Court in Stockholm on Jan. 19, 2023.Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP – Getty Images

Beyond a reasonable doubt, the court found that the brothers acquired, conveyed, and exposed material to a foreign power intending to jeopardize Sweden’s security while working together and in collaboration.

Without permission and for the advantage of Russia and the GRU.

According to the Stockholm District Court, Peyman Kia “was the driving force in their combined crime,” but Payam Kia’s participation “was of lesser relative importance.”

The court explained the life sentence by writing that the older brother had “full comprehension of the destructive implications – he has collected, forwarded and divulged the material to Russia, which forms the greatest threat to Sweden’s security.”

Chief Judge Mns Wigén stated, “After the district court reviewed the material, it is obvious that some parts of the puzzle are missing and that, as a result, it has not been possible to fully establish what occurred.”

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However, Wigén claimed that “the image of what happened is sufficiently clear for the defendants to be held accountable.” Money was the driving force.

According to Wigén, Peyman Kia obtained about 90 documents from the crime, whereas Payam Kia obtained about 65 documents.

He stated during a press conference that these papers’ revelations could significantly harm Sweden’s security.

According to Per Lindqvist, the chief public prosecutor of the National Security Unit, they “have been found guilty of very serious crimes against Sweden’s intelligence and security apparatus.”

Both men denied any misconduct throughout the secret trial that took place. The material from the preliminary investigation and a large portion of the evidence presented is confidential.

Peyman Kia, 42, worked for Sweden’s armed forces and its domestic intelligence service between 2014 and 2015.

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Swedish prosecutors claim that the information they provided to the Russians came from various departments inside SAPO, the Swedish security and intelligence service.

According to Swedish media, Peyman Kia worked for the military’s foreign defense intelligence agency, also known as MUST, and with a top-secret division of the organization that dealt with Swedish spies abroad.

In November 2021, his brother Peyman Kia was taken into custody. Both, according to their defense attorneys, denied any culpability.

According to the charging sheet acquired by The Associated Press, Payam Kia, 35, assisted his brother and “dismantled and damaged a hard drive which was later located in a garbage can” when his brother was detained.

After SAPO grew suspicious of the former employee and believed there might be a mole in Sweden’s intelligence community, a preliminary investigation was started in 2017.

Charlotte von Essen, chief of SAPO, stated, “It is something that must not happen but which we as a security organisation know might happen.” “Among the nations that pose the biggest security threat to Sweden is Russia.

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Attacks and operations to steal information are conducted daily to advance the state’s interests.

Because the guys had prepared a list of every SAPO employee, the case is regarded as one of the most damaging cases of espionage in Sweden’s history.

Stig Bergling, a Swedish security official who served in both the military forces and SAPO, was implicated in one of Sweden’s worst spy scandals during the Cold War for selling information to the Soviet Union.

He was given a life term in prison in 1979 for the same offenses, managed to escape while serving his sentence, and then made a voluntary return to Sweden in 1994. He passed away in his home nation in January 2015.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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