Denmark Arrests Three Iranian Dissidents for Spying

  • "It is the view of PET that the three people, in the period from 2012 to 2018, have been spying for a Saudi Arabian intelligence service."
  • The Al-Ahwaz Arab Liberation Movement started its activities five years ago.
  • This is not the first time people have been arrested for spying for the Islamic Republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia in Denmark.

The Danish intelligence and security service announced the arrest of three members of the “Al-Ahwaz Arab Liberation Movement” on charges of espionage for Saudi Arabia. Dan Anders, head of the Danish intelligence and security service, said the three were spying for three years in Denmark.

The National Liberation Movement of Ahwaz is an Arab nationalist and separatist organisation whose goal is to establish an independent state called Ahwaz in Iran. It was founded in 1998.

Danish security officials told the news agencies that they were gathering information about Danish individuals and companies for the Saudi intelligence service. The news agencies quoted a statement issued by PET chief Finn Borch Andersen:  “It is the view of PET (The Danish Security and Intelligence Service) that the three people, in the period from 2012 to 2018, have been spying for a Saudi Arabian intelligence service.”

The Al-Ahwaz Arab Liberation Movement started its activities five years ago. The group’s plan includes the liberation of Ahwaz, and efforts to recognize the “right of sovereignty and independence of the Ahwaz Arab nation,” as well as the establishment of the “Ahwaz Arab State,” as part of the goals of the “Ahwaz Arab Liberation Movement.”

Activities of the Islamic Republic of Saudi Arabia in Europe

This is not the first time people have been arrested for spying for the Islamic Republic of Iran or Saudi Arabia in Denmark. Two years ago, the Danish Intelligence Service also reported that the Islamic Republic had attempted to assassinate members of the “Al-Ahwaz Arab Liberation Movement.”

In December last year, the Stockholm District Court sentenced an Iraqi-Swedish citizen, whose identity was not disclosed, to two years and six months in prison on charges of unlawful acts against the “Ahwazi community” in several European countries. According to the court, the man collected intelligence about Arab Ahwazi activities in several European countries and made them available to Iranian security agencies.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) is the national security and intelligence agency of Denmark. The agency focuses solely on national security, and foreign intelligence operations are handled by Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste, the foreign intelligence service administered by the Danish Royal Defense.

The court also stated that the said “intelligence operations” were carried out systematically. Among the alleged activities includes filming of participants in Arab-speaking Ahwazi conferences and demonstrations in Sweden and several European countries, as well as photographing their vehicle license plates.

Violent Acts

On the last day of September 2018, during a parade of armed forces in Ahwaz, a group of four people opened fire on a crowd. The gunman killed four people, including several civilians, and wounded five others. After the attack, ISIL claimed responsibility for releasing a video of the attackers. The Islamic Republic, however, said the “Al-Ahwaz movement” was involved in the operation. During the armed operation, four people were killed by the attackers.

Following the attack, a wave of arrests broke out in Ahwaz in November of that year. Ahwazi activists announced the arrest of about 3 men and women in Ahwaz, including political, cultural and ordinary citizens. The arrests triggered a backlash from Amnesty International. It was reported at the time that four of them had been secretly executed. In a statement, Amnesty International called for an immediate clarification of the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of Ahwazi Arabs detained without access to their families or lawyers.

Earlier in July 2018, the Dutch government fired two Iranian embassy staff. The two were said to have been fired in connection with the killing of Ahmed Mullah Abonahaz, known as Ahmed Nisi, the founder of the “Arab Liberation Movement in Al-Ahwaz.” He was assassinated in front of his home in the city of The Hague in November of that year.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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