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Trial against suspected spies for Russia begins in Germany

January 15, 2013, 14:39 UTC+3

They can face up to 10 years in prison

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BERLIN, January 15 (Itar-Tass) — The Supreme Land Court of Stuttgart began a trial against the spouses Andreas and Heindrun Anschlag on Tuesday. The German prosecutor’s office accused them of espionage for the Soviet Union and then for Russia.

The pair has already faced the accusations, the Supreme Land Court told Itar-Tass. It is unclear how long the Tuesday court session will last.

The German legal authorities claimed that suspected Russian secret agents, who were arrested in October 2011, stayed in Germany for more than 20 years and lived in different cities of the federal lands Northern Rhine-Westphalia, Rheinland-Pfalz and Hessen. They allegedly arrived in the Federative Republic of Germany in the period between 1988 and 1990, posing themselves as the Austrians of the Latin American origin, and were collecting the classified information about various aspects of the activities of the European Union and NATO.

Meanwhile, from 2008 to 2011 the Anschlag spouses obtained the classified documents from another agent, who worked in the Dutch Foreign Ministry. The satellite communications and the Internet were used for the transmission of the secret information in Moscow.

According to the media reports, the German security services have got the information that the under-cover Russian agents are operating in the Federative Republic of Germany from “the colleagues of a friendly security service from an Eastern European country,” as well as from the United States, after that the spouses were put under surveillance.

Andreas and Heidrun Anschlag noticed the surveillance and began to prepare for their departure. They were detained shortly after that. Now, according to the German legislation, they can face up to 10 years in prison.

Lawyer of the defendants Horst-Dieter Potschke, who protected the interests of spy from the German Democratic Republic Guenter Gillaume in the seventies of the previous century, who worked as a personal referent of the then Chancellor of the Federative Republic of Germany Willy Brandt, stated before that his clients hope that Berlin and Moscow will conclude a deal for a swap of them.

The Stuttgart trial tends to be long, because 31 court sessions were preliminarily scheduled for the court hearings. The court sessions will be held twice a week, according to the common legal practice. Thus, the trial may last until next summer.

The local media named the current trial as nothing, but “the most high-profile espionage case since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

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