Professor given five-month sentence for spying

Defendant admitted to meeting Russian diplomats, but denied knowing that they were spies

May 31st, 2012 3:30 pm| by admin

A Finnish university professor has been sentenced to five months in prison for spying following a trial held behind closed doors, from which even the verdict was not released.

Timo Kivimäki, 49, a professor of international politics at Copenhagen, did not expect to be found guilty under the ‘mild’ anti-spy legislation.

”I was expecting to be let off,” Kivimäki told Ekstra Bladet outside the court. “[The domestic intelligence agency] PET alleges that the diplomats I was in touch with were spies. I just thought they were ordinary diplomats.”

Several Russian diplomats left Denmark after the start of the spy case, and according to Ekstra Bladet, Kivimäki’s lawyer, Anders Nemeth, had attempted to have them return to act as witnesses.

Nemeth would not comment on this claim however.

According to the press release from the city court in Glostrup, Kivimäki was found guilty of handing over documents, including the CVs of four employees at the Center for Military Studies, to Russian diplomats during his many meetings with them between 2002 and 2010.

Kivimäki was also found guilty of attempting to hand over a list of student names along with the CV of the head of the Center for Military Studies. He was found with these documents in his possession when he was arrested in September 2010.

The court implemented so-called ‘double-closed doors’ in order to protect Denmark’s relationship with Russia after recommendations from both the Justice and Foreign Ministries.

The case’s secrecy has now been appealed to the Supreme Court, whose ruling is expected to set a precedent in future spy trials.

Kivimäki was critical of the conviction and questioned PET's agenda.

“The court has believed PET’s paranoia,” Kivimäki told Ekstra Bladet. “The intelligence agency wants the population to believe that the country is full of spies and terrorists so PET can get more resources.”

Kivimäki is a Finnish citizen who has lived in Copenhagen since 1999. According to the press release from the court, his research at Copenhagen University focused on establishing peaceful methods for resolving conflicts.

“The defendant explained that he hoped to be able to affect the politics of the foreign country [Russia] through peaceful means and that he had acted alone," the court's press release stated.

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