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CRIME

Former head of Danish intelligence charged over leaks

Danish prosecutors on Friday charged the country's former military intelligence chief with leaking state secrets, following a scandal over Denmark's cooperation with US intelligence.

Denmark's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of an ex-military intelligence chief Lars Findsen
Danish prosecutors on Friday charged the country's former military intelligence chief Lars Findsen with leaking state secrets. File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix
The prosecution authority said Lars Findsen was accused of “having divulged secrets important to national security on several occasions and… under particularly aggravated circumstances”.
 
The details of the investigation are classified, but the case comes after Danish media reported that the Danish intelligence services had cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA).
 

Findsen, who was suspended in August 2020 without public explanation, was subsequently held in custody from December 2021 to February 2022. He insists he is innocent.

 
“I never divulged any state secrets. I reject the allegations”, he told Danish news agency Ritzau in June, criticising the handling of the case as “ridiculous”.
 

Prosecutors accuse Findsen of leaking state secrets and other confidential information after his suspension to six people, including two journalists, over a period of up to 17 months.

 
The leaks could “harm relations with other intelligence service partners and make their work more difficult if their work methods were revealed”, prosecutor Jakob Berger Nielsen said.
 
“Trust in the (Danish) intelligence service’s ability to protect sensitive information may have been weakened,” he added.
 
The prosecution said it would request a trial behind closed doors. A date has yet to be set.
 
While Denmark never publicly revealed why Findsen and the other agents were suspended, there have been suspicions that his service conducted illegal surveillance.
 
The government accused them of hiding “crucial information” and providing “false information to the authorities” between 2014 and 2020.
 
In May 2021, an investigation by several Danish media revealed that the NSA used Danish underwater cables to spy on officials in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden until at least 2014.
 
Former German chancellor Angela Merkel was among the NSA’s targets.
 
The revelations sparked an international scandal and the four countries demanded explanations from Washington and Copenhagen.
 

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CRIME

Denmark jails IS ‘wife’ for three years

A 35-year-old Danish woman was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for entering Syria and promoting the Islamic State (IS) group's activities, prosecutors in Denmark said.

Denmark jails IS 'wife' for three years

During the mother of five’s trial, the prosecutor had argued that wives were a key part of IS.

“Even if you did not actively participate in the fighting, we assert that you can support the terrorist organisation by shopping in its supermarkets, by taking care of the children, by being a housewife,” prosecutor Trine Schjodt
Fogh said.

The woman, who pleaded guilty, was convicted of “having promoted the activities of IS, in particular by acting as the housewife and wife of a person who was active in the terrorist organisation,” the prosecution authority said in a statement.

She was also found guilty of having “entered and resided in al-Raqqa district in Raqqa province and Deir al-Zour province in Syria, which were defined as conflict zones during the period”.

The  woman, who is originally from the west of Denmark, arrived in Syria eight years ago, a journey she “bitterly” regrets, her lawyer Mette Gith Stage told news agency Ritzau.

“The last few years have been difficult for her, first in the caliphate, then in a prison camp and now in prison. She misses her children terribly and is eager for the case to end so that she and her children can move on,” the
lawyer said.

In October 2021, Denmark removed three women and 14 children from the Kurdish-controlled Roj camp in north-eastern Syria in a joint operation with Germany.

The three women were arrested on arrival in Denmark and have since been in detention and the trial that just ended marks the first of three.

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