Members of Iranian opposition group found guilty of espionage in Denmark

04 Feb 2022

Members of Iranian opposition group found guilty of espionage in Denmark

The members of the Saudi-backed group were charged in February 2020 and have been held in custody since

By News Desk (The Cradle)

February 04 2022


On 4 February, a Danish court found three members of a Saudi-backed Iranian opposition group guilty on of espionage and financing and supporting terrorism.

The Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), recognized as a terrorist group by Iran, has bases in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The three ASMLA members were arrested two years ago in February 2020, and have since been kept in custody.

They will face prison sentences of up to 12 years for providing intelligence about Danish and other foreign institutions to Saudi intelligence. The members allegedly spied for Saudi Arabia between 2012 and 2020.

According to the prosecution, the trio also used banks based in Austria and Dubai in the UAE to funnel about 4.8 million dollars, facilitated by Saudi Arabia, to the Iran-based opposition group.

A final verdict on the sentencing is expected to be issued in March.

The three suspects, all men between 39 and 50 years of age, are also convicted of supporting the militant anti-Iran group Jaish al-Adl, which is known to carry out terror attacks in the country’s southeast. The three men will likely be faced with deportation as well as one case of potential citizenship revoking.

The lawyer for the oldest convict, 50, who lived in Denmark as a refugee since 2006, told AFP that “what they are charged with is legitimate resistance towards an oppressive regime,” adding that the suspects “are not denying receiving money from multiple sources, including Saudi Arabia, to help the movement and help them accomplish their political aims.”

One of the three suspects was a target in a thwarted attack in Denmark by an Iranian man with Norwegian citizenship in 2018. The attack was regarded by some western nations to be an operation by Iran in retaliation for the 24 people killed in a military parade in Ahvaz by separatist gunmen.

Tehran denied the allegations from Denmark that the man was spying for Iran, and the Norwegian-Iranian suspect was sentenced to seven years in jail.