Germany jails Pakistani over spying for Iran

Published March 28, 2017
Mustafa talks to his lawyers as he waits for the start of his trial in Berlin.— AP/File
Mustafa talks to his lawyers as he waits for the start of his trial in Berlin.— AP/File

BERLIN: A Pakistani man was convicted in Germany on Monday on charges of spying for Iran allegedly to search out potential attack targets for the Revolutionary Guards.

Mustufa Haidar Syed-Naqfi, 31, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison “for working for a foreign intelligence service”, a spokeswoman for Berlin’s superior court said.

The court found that he had spied “against Germany and another Nato member”, France, for the Quds Force, the foreign operations wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. He compiled dossiers on possible attack targets — a German lawmaker who is a former head of a German-Israeli organisation, and a French-Israeli economics professor.

Investigators found detailed dossiers on the men and their daily routines, with hundreds of photos and video clips.

The court heard that they detailed the targets’ homes and workplaces, various access routes to them, as well as information on security guards, surveillance cameras and nearby police stations.

A representative of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, which handles counterespionage, said it was alerted to the defendant by a “reliable” source.

The service suspected the Quds Force was preparing for a possible future conflict with the United States and Israel, when it could hit targets in Europe in a form of “asymmetrical warfare”.

The Karachi-born defendant came to Germany as a student in 2012 and most recently lived in the western city of Bremen.

He travelled to Iran at least twice, in October 2015 and February last year, and received at least $2,237 for his intelligence activities.

He was arrested in July but declined to testify during the trial — “out of fear”, according to his lawyer.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2017

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