Life sentence for Russian spy is upheld by a Swedish court

Peyman Kia, one of two Swedish brothers of Iranian descent who were charged with espionage for Russia, has been given a life sentence by Sweden’s Supreme Court. In what has been regarded as one of the biggest espionage cases in Sweden in several decades, the older Kia had been given a life term in jail in January. Payam Kia, his younger brother, received a nine years and 10 months sentence.

The two were found guilty of passing material to the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence organization, between September 2011 and September 2021. At first, both brothers appealed the sentences from the January 19th hearing before the Stockholm District Court. Payam, though, withdrew his appeal last week, purportedly due to worries of getting a harsher punishment.

The retraction caused the Supreme Court to postpone rendering its decision for a week. Given the sensitivity of the subject involved, proceedings were mostly held behind closed doors. The court decided that there was proof of Peyman Kia’s acquisition, dissemination, and marketing of information to the GRU.

Peyman Kia worked for Sweden’s military forces as well as the country’s domestic intelligence service between 2014 and 2015. Swedish prosecutors allege that the brothers’ intelligence originated from numerous authorities within the Swedish security and intelligence service, known as SAPO.

The espionage case has drawn comparisons to the notorious Cold War spy affair involving Stig Bergling, a Swedish security official convicted of selling information to the Soviet Union.

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