Ex-German press office worker convicted of spying for Egypt

National/World

BERLIN (AP) — A court in Berlin has convicted a former employee of the German government press office of spying for Egypt and given him a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months.

Berlin’s state court told the dpa news agency on Wednesday that the verdict against the 66-year-old man was handed down last week.

Federal prosecutors have said the suspect, a German citizen with family roots in Egypt whom they identified only as Amin K., took up his espionage activity from July 2010 on instructions from the Egyptian embassy in Berlin.

They said he used his position in the press office’s visitor service to pass information to Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, or GIS. He was accused of compiling reports on Germany’s domestic and foreign policy relating to Egypt, including using research tools available to him at press office.

In exchange, the suspect hoped that his family in Egypt would receive special treatment from authorities there. Prosecutors said his handler helped the suspect’s mother obtain pension rights in Egypt and he was occasionally invited to receptions at the embassy.

The case came to public attention in July, when it was mentioned in an annual report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

At the time, the government said people working at the visitor service didn’t have access to other databases at the press office, including those that contain reporters’ accreditation details.

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