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'Islamist mole' who worked for German intelligence released

July 12, 2017

A regional court in Düsseldorf has said it will only pursue some of the charges raised against the intelligence worker. The suspect was arrested last year on suspicion of sharing secret information on Islamist web sites.

Deutschland Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz in Köln Gebäude GETZ
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The former employee at Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, will only face charges for disclosing sensitive information, a speaker for the regional court in Düsseldorf said on Wednesday.

It means that the court had decided to drop more severe charges brought forth by the prosecution against the suspect, which in turn nullified his arrest warrant.

Read more: German domestic spy agency denies security lapse after Islamist mole

The suspect, a 51-year-old Spanish-born German national, had been detained for the past eight months amid allegations that he had planned to help jihadi groups in Germany carry out terror attacks and had disseminated state secrets to them. Those charges were dropped earlier this week, however, prompting the suspect's release.

'Radicalized role'

The suspect started working at the BfV in April last year as part of a new task force employed to monitor Germany's every-growing Islamist scene.

Instead, however, the suspect was allegedly tasked by German terror cells of gathering details on planned police raids and passing the information on to Islamist cells based in Germany.

According to the prosecution, he had been in contact in November 2016 with Junud al-Sham, a terror group made up of namely Chechen and Lebanese Islamists, shortly before being arrested.

The allegations prompted major calls for an inquiry into how a radicalized individual could be recruited to work in domestic intelligence, despite the BfV's usually vigorous screening measures.

German media reported back in November that the suspect was also planning to carry out an attack on his place of work, although the BfV were quick to debunk the reports. The court's decision on Wednesday appeared to suggest that there was little or no evidence of such an attack in the works.

The defendant's lawyers told German weekly "Der Spiegel" that the court's decision to release the suspect from custody was in large part thanks to the impression he made during his hearing.

dm/msh (dpa)