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Sweden prosecutes brothers for spying for Russia news

Swedish brothers of Iranian origin are accused of spying for Russia and its military intelligence service for 10 years.

A trial has begun in Sweden on the case of two Iranian-born Swedish brothers who have been accused of spying for Russia and its military intelligence service the GRU for 10 years.

Peiman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35, appeared before Stockholm District Court on Friday to face charges of jointly working to pass information to Russia between September 28, 2011 and September 20, 2021.

Between 2014 and 2015, Payman Kia also worked for Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency and the Swedish Armed Forces.

Swedish prosecutors allege that the data they passed to the Russians originated from a number of officers within the Swedish Security and Intelligence Service, known by its acronym SAPO.

Swedish media stated that Payman Kia worked for the Armed Forces Foreign Defense Intelligence Agency, whose Swedish abbreviation is MUST, and allegedly worked with a top-secret unit under MUST, which was responsible for Swedish spies abroad. was working with

The tallest man’s attorney, Anton Strand, said Thursday that his client continues to deny the allegations.

Strand said, “He has been working for the Swedish government in various positions and has always done his best to do a good job in a very difficult environment.”

‘Big problem’

Intelligence expert Joachim von Braun told Swedish broadcaster SVT after the trial opened that even though many details remain unknown, it appears to be one of the most damaging cases of espionage in Sweden’s history as the men made a list of all SAPO employees. was prepared.

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

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

According to the charge sheet obtained by the Associated Press news agency, 35-year-old Payam Kia helped her brother “smash and smash a hard drive that was later found in a trash can” when her brother was arrested.

Naturalized Swedish citizens face up to life imprisonment if convicted.

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