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Sweden indicts brothers accused of acting as spies for Russia


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Swedish prosecutors indicted two brothers for acting as spies for Russia on Friday. They are accused of leaking information to the GRU, the Russian Defense military intelligence unit, for a decade.

Identified as Peyman and Payam Kia, the brothers were born in Iran and are 42 and 35 years old, respectively. According to the AP news agency, Peyman had worked for the Swedish police and armed forces.

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Their defense team could not be located, but both had previously denied all charges — they have been in detention since last year, and could face life in prison if found guilty.

A document obtained by the AP states that the brothers collaborated with the GRU from September 2011 to the same month in 2021. According to him, Peyman, the eldest, was responsible for gathering intelligence. Payam would then forward the information to his Russian contacts and receive payments.

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The case is investigated by Sweden’s domestic security agency Sapo. The agency says it started investigations against Peyman in 2017, when it began to suspect that his former employee was leaking data.

The Swedish prosecutor’s office says the information the brothers had access to could affect national security if it fell into the hands of a foreign power, adding that most investigations into the crime take place in secrecy.

For years, European intelligence agencies have warned of clandestine activities by Russian spies, looking with suspicion on those who cheered for the country and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Moscow generally called this paranoid “Russophobia” — its response to almost all foreign criticism. But the invasion of Ukraine some nine months ago gave Western governments scope to take many of these suspicions seriously, accelerating efforts to root out hidden networks of spies and their recruits.

Last month, another Nordic nation, Norway, arrested what local police claimed was a Russian spy posing as a Brazilian. The subject, whose identity was not revealed — only his approximate age, between 30 and 40 years old — identified himself as a scientist at the University of Tromsö, in the north of the country.

In June, the Netherlands deported another Russian who claimed to be Brazilian. According to the country’s authorities, Sergei Vladimirovitch Tcherkasov, 36, would have tried to infiltrate the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, under the identity of Viktor Muller Ferreira. The court is responsible for investigating, among others, possible war crimes committed in the Ukrainian War.

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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