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Iranian trio found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia

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COPENHAGEN: A court in Denmark has found three members of an Iranian separatist group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz (ASMLA), guilty of promoting violence in Iran and gathering information for an unnamed intelligence service in Saudi Arabia.

The court in Roskilde, west of Copenhagen, said on Friday that it found they gathered information about individuals and organisations in Denmark as well as abroad and on Iranian military affairs, and passed this information on to a Saudi intelligence service.

The men, who were not identified according to Danish rules, face up to 12 years in jail. The District Court in Roskilde said a sentence would be announced in March.

The three were arrested in February 2020 in Ringsted, 60km (40 miles) southwest of Copenhagen.

The court said most of the proceedings were held behind closed doors because of the “relationship with foreign powers and for the safety of the accused and others”. The men pleaded not guilty, the court added.

The case of the three members of the London-based group was linked to a case in the Netherlands where police had arrested a 40-year-old man.

Dutch police said that part of the ASMLA movement has an armed wing that carries out attacks in Iran, mainly against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, as well as oil and gas fields.

It also was linked to a 2018 police operation in Denmark over an alleged Iranian plot to kill one or more opponents of the Iranian government.

The operation briefly cut off the island on which Copenhagen sits from the rest of Denmark.

Tehran has accused ASMLA of an attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz in September 2018, that left at least 25 people dead.

The group has condemned the violence and said it was not involved. The Danish court said it had found one of the three guilty of expressing his approval of the attack.

Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service started an investigation into the case involving the three men in November 2018.

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