Norway police arrest citizen suspected of spying for Russia

Man detained in Norway’s capital, Oslo, suspected of ‘harming vital national interests’, according to police.

The arrest took place at a restaurant in Oslo on Saturday during a meeting of the two, police said [NTB Scanpix/Terje Pedersen/Reuters]
The arrest took place at a restaurant in Oslo on Saturday during a meeting of the two, police said [NTB Scanpix/Terje Pedersen/Reuters]

Police in Oslo have arrested a Norwegian citizen suspected of illegally handing information to a Russian intelligence officer.

The man, whom the PST security police did not name on Monday, was suspected of “harming vital national interests”, which could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The arrest took place at a restaurant in the Norwegian capital on Saturday during a meeting of the two, PST spokesman Martin Bernsen told Reuters news agency. 

“He [the Norwegian man] was arrested in the presence of the intelligence officer,” said Bernsen.

Asked whether the intelligence officer was not arrested because the person was a diplomat, Bernsen declined to comment.

“We focus on the Norwegian man,” he said. 

The arrested man denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer, Marianne Darre-Naess, said following an arraignment hearing at Oslo district court.

The security police are asking the court that the man be detained for four weeks.

Last year, Frode Berg, a retired Norwegian border inspector, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in Moscow after a court found him guilty of spying on Russian nuclear submarines. 

NATO member Norway normally enjoys good relations with neighbouring Russia, with which it shares a short land border.

But relations have grown tense since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and a pro-Russia rebellion erupted in eastern Ukraine.

Source : News Agencies

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