Ex-German Army interpreter accused of spying for Iranian intelligence

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MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan –German Army Soldiers, based out of Camp Marmal, conduct a surveillance of a nearby village, during a daily security patrol, where they met with elders. The patrols ensure safety, security and foster good relations with the Afghans. Official Photo by Petty Officer First Class Ryan Tabios, ISAF HQ Public Affairs

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan –German Army Soldiers, based out of Camp Marmal, conduct a surveillance of a nearby village, during a daily security patrol, where they met with elders. The patrols ensure safety, security and foster good relations with the Afghans. Official Photo by Petty Officer First Class Ryan Tabios, ISAF HQ Public Affairs

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.

A trial for a German-Afghan national suspected of spying for Iranian intelligence is set to commence on January 20 in the city of Koblenz in Germany.



Identified as Abdul Hamid S. according to Germany privacy laws, the 51-year-old former interpreter and adviser for the German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, was arrested a year ago in the Rhineland region of western Germany and accused of providing information to Iranian intelligence for many years.

Prosecutors specifically accuse him of passing on 19 classified documents to Iranian intelligence.



Iran has denied ever having contact with the former military consultant.



The suspect's 40-year-old spouse has been charged as an accessory but has not been detained.



A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry has told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the suspect's arrest was an attempt by "enemies" of Iran to sabotage the Islamic republic's relations with the EU.



German magazine Der Spiegel has reported that he had access to sensitive information, including possible details of troop deployments in Afghanistan, and that he worked for Iran's MOIS intelligence agency.



The Bundeswehr is known to use native speakers to accompany troops on patrol in Afghanistan to facilitate communication with locals.



News agency dpa reported that the trial will be conducted behind closed doors and is scheduled to last until March 31.

Based on reporting by Deutsche Welle, dpa, and Der Spiegel

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