Germany hands suspended sentence to spy worked for Egypt

Germany hands suspended sentence to spy worked for Egypt
2 min read
11 March, 2021
An Egyptian-born German man has been given a suspended sentence for working as a spy while employed by Angela Merkel's press office.
Prosecutors said the man did not have access to government secrets. [Getty]

A German citizen of Egyptian origin has been convicted and sentenced by a court in Berlin on Wednesday for working as a spy for Egypt, according to reports by Deutsche Welle

Amin K., 66, pleaded guilty to spying for Egypt while working in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's press office.

The court handed him a suspended sentence of one year and nine months. 

State prosecutors and the man's defence lawyers settled on a sentencing agreement, although other details beyond the length of the suspended sentence have not been revealed. 

In court, prosecutors explained how Amin K. worked for Egypt's General Intelligence Service (GIS), providing them with information between July 2010 to 2019.

They described how he used his position in the press office and the research tools available to him to monitor and provide information about German media coverage on Egypt. 

Additionally, they detailed how in 2014 and 2015 he helped in an attempt to recruit a German parliament translator as another spy for the GIS, which was ultimately unsuccessful. 

He also passed the names of five of his colleagues with Syrian roots onto the GIS. 

Following investigations, German authorities concluded that Amin K. did not have access to any secret government information. 

Amin K. worked for the visitor service in the press office, described as a "mid-level employee" by the German daily Bild

In return for his work, Amin K. is believed to have received preferential treatment from the Cairo authorities, which included his mother, who lives in Egypt, being helped to claim her pension payments. 

The case came to light after the release of a German intelligence service report in 2019, which reported how the GIS was active in Germany.

Read more: Germany's ban on Hezbollah: A double-edged sword

"There are indications that Egyptian services are trying to recruit Egyptians living in Germany for intelligence purposes through their visits to Egyptian diplomatic missions in Germany and their trips to Egypt," the report said. 

Since Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi took power in 2014, some activists, journalists and politicians who have moved to Germany seeking refuge from an increasingly oppressive government.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected