The trial of an alleged Egyptian spy who worked for years as a staffer in the German government's press office began in Berlin on Tuesday.
The 66-year-old defendant, identified as Amin K.*, is alleged to have passed information to the Egyptian foreign intelligence service (GIS) between 2010 and 2019.
What is the suspect accused of?
According to the indictment, Amin K. allegedly monitored media content while working at the federal press office's visitor service, gathered information for Egyptian intelligence officers and tried to recruit another spy. He is also alleged to have passed on the names of five press office colleagues with Syrian roots to the GIS.
In return, prosecutors allege that authorities in Egypt supposedly offered him preferential treatment. They say the suspect's mother in Egypt also received help from her son's handling officer to claim her pension payments.
Two more court dates are scheduled for the trial before the end of the month. Originally scheduled to start in January, the case was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Egyptians in Germany in GIS' sights, says BfV
Germany's domestic intelligence service (the BfV) made the case public in July last year in its wide-ranging annual report on potential threats to democracy.
The intelligence report said federal investigators launched their probe in December 2019. It also noted that Egyptians living in Germany "could become the focus" of Egypt's GIS and its National Security Service (NSS).
*Editor's note: DW follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
nm/msh (AFP, dpa)