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German immigration official charged with spying for India

A German national working for immigration authorities in Ostwestfalen in western Germany has been accused of espionage. The man allegedly mined information on Indian nationals, especially Sikhs in Germany.

The 58-year-old, identified only by the initials T. S. P., was charged with “espionage and violation of professional secrecy in 45 cases,” Germany’s national public prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The man worked at an immigration office in Ostwestfalen, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He reportedly accessed the organization’s database for details on Indian nationals living in Germany.

According to public prosecutors’ suspicions, he leaked information on political opponents and alleged extremist members of the Sikh community to an Indian intelligence agency. In the 1980s and 1990s, militant Sikh groups fought in India’s western state, Punjab, demanding independence for their homeland, which they called Khalistan.

The German national charged with espionage has been in police custody since February 17. The man was indicted on September 7, prosecutors released their statement on Tuesday.

Espionage for a foreign power in Germany can carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, less serious cases peak at five years.

mg/msh (AFP, dpa)

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