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The New Arab Staff

Germany begins trial of alleged Egyptian spy

Germany has been criticised for arms sales to Egypt [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 February, 2021

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The Egyptian-born German's alleged activities are said to be part of wider efforts by Cairo to spy on dissidents abroad.
The trial of an Egyptian man accused of spying on dissidents while working at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's press office began on Tuesday.

The 66-year-old defendant, identified only as Amin K, is accused of passing information to Egyptian foreign intelligence services while working at the government press office between 2010 and 2019.

Amin K is also accused of attempting to recruit another spy at the office.

German prosecutors claim the suspect and his mother were offered preferential treatment in return for his alleged spying services.

The Egyptian-born German citizen's arrest, made public last year, has been linked to alleged efforts by the Egyptian intelligence services to spy on dissidents abroad.

"There are indications that Egyptian services are trying to recruit Egyptians living in Germany for intelligence purposes through their visits to Egyptian diplomatic missions in Germany and their trips to Egypt," German daily Bild reported at the time.

Amin K also passed on the name of five colleagues in the press office who were of Syrian descent, according to the indictment.

Human rights groups have condemned countries, including Germany, for continuing to provide arms and training to Egyptian forces despite the country's treatment of dissidents at home and abroad.

Thousands of protesters, academics, journalists, lawyers  have been locked up since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi rose to power in a 2013 coup.

Last year, Germany approved $330 million in arms sales to Egypt.

Israel's NSO Group and French company Amesys have also been criticised for selling spyware and surveillance technology to Egypt.

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