Two Iranian-born Swedish brothers were sentenced to long prison terms on Thursday for a decade of espionage by Russia and its GRU military intelligence agency. – Stockholm District Court reported
Peyman Kia, the eldest of the two Swedes, was sentenced to life in prison, while his younger brother, Payam Kia, was sentenced to 9 years and 10 months in prison. They had appeared before Stockholm District Court, where they were accused of leaking information to Russia jointly between September 28, 2011, and September 20, 2021.
“There is no doubt that the brothers colluded to obtain, forward, and pass on information to foreign powers without authorization for the benefit of Russia and the GRU to endanger the security of Sweden,” the court said in a statement.
The Stockholm District Court said Payam Kia was “the main facilitator of their joint crime”, while Peyman Kia’s involvement was “relatively unimportant”.
Explaining the life sentence, the court wrote that the older brother “fully understood the harmful effects – the information he obtained, forwarded and passed on to Russia, which posed the greatest threat to the security of Sweden”.
Chief Justice Måns Wigén said: “Based on the District Court’s assessment of the evidence, it is clear that certain pieces of the puzzle are missing and therefore it cannot be fully established what happened.” But “the picture of what happened is clear enough to hold the accused accountable. ,” Wigan said. The motive is money.
Regarding the scope of the crime, Peyman Kia obtained about 90 documents, while Payam Kia obtained about 65, Wigén said.
“The release of these documents could be particularly damaging to Sweden’s security,” he told a news conference.
They were “convicted of very serious crimes against the Swedish intelligence and security system,” said Per Lindqvist, chief prosecutor of the national security service.
During the trial, which took place behind closed doors, both men denied any wrongdoing. Much of the evidence and material presented in the preliminary investigation is classified.
Peyman Kia worked for Sweden’s internal intelligence service between 2014 and 2015, but also for the country’s armed forces. Swedish prosecutors claim the data they provided to the Russians came from several units of Sweden’s security and intelligence agency, known by its acronym SAPO.
According to Swedish media reports, Peman Kia is reported to work for the foreign defense intelligence agency of the armed forces, known in Sweden by the acronym MUST, and to work with a top-secret unit within the intelligence agency that deals with Swedish spies abroad.
Payam Kia was helping his brother and “disassembled and destroyed a hard drive that was later found in a trash can” when his brother was arrested, according to the Associated Press indictment.
The case is considered one of the worst espionage cases in Swedish history because the men compiled a list of all SAPO employees.