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Denmark sentences Iran separatists who spied for Saudi Arabia up to eight years in prison

Danish Police arrive at Copenhagen City Court in Copenhagen on December 12, 2019 [PHILIP DAVALI/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images]
Danish Police arrive at Copenhagen City Court in Copenhagen on December 12, 2019 [PHILIP DAVALI/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images]

A Danish court has sentenced three leading members of an Iranian-Arab separatist group to prison after being convicted of carrying out espionage for Saudi Arabia.

The three men, who are part of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), were arrested two years ago by Danish authorities and were, last month, found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabian intelligence services, as well as financing and supporting terrorist activity in Iran.

The court yesterday handed out prison sentences to the men, giving the group's leader, Habib Yabor Kabi, eight years in prison, his brother, Tamim Farouk Beck, seven years, and his son-in-law Jacob Mohamed – a Danish citizen – six years.

They were found "guilty of creating an intelligence unit for a Saudi intelligence service over a period of several years" while they were based at an address in the Copenhagen suburb of Ringsted, among other places. They were also convicted of "promoting terrorism" for their support of the activities of ASMLA's armed wing.

According to the Danish public broadcaster DR, which was able to access materials from the closed-door trial, the three men had compiled a list of 100 individuals and companies in the country to monitor and pass on to Saudi intelligence services.

With its leaders reportedly living in Denmark and the Netherlands, the ASMLA seeks self-determination and a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran's oil-rich south-west province of Khuzestan.

The conviction of the men, who will be deported to Iran following the completion of their sentences, closes one of several cases of espionage activities conducted between the rival states of Saudi Arabia and Iran in mainland Europe.

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DenmarkEurope & RussiaIranMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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