Pakistani suspected of spying on German pro-Israel group to face Berlin trial

Toby Axelrod

BERLIN (JTA) — A Pakistani man suspected of spying on a pro-Israel group in Germany is to be tried in Berlin, federal prosecutors announced.

Identified only as “Syed Mustufa H.,” the 31-year-old man was arrested last July and charged in December with spying on behalf of an Iran-linked intelligence unit. According to the BZ newspaper, his target allegedly was the German-Israel Society, or DIG, and its former director, Reinhold Robbe.

The man is suspected of spying on organizations and individuals in Europe over several years. The activities in question span from July 2015 to July 2016, when he was arrested in Bremen. German press reports say that the accused studied and worked in the area, and that he delivered information to Iran about his target in October 2015, one month after Robbe – a former legislator with the Social Democratic Party – stepped down from his position with the DIG.

Robbe told Germany’s Bild newspaper last July that state intelligence services informed him two weeks before making the arrest.

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“But I am not surprised that Iran would try to spy on me,” he said at the time, “because I have always made my opinion about the regime perfectly clear, particularly when it comes to its threats against Israel.”

The DIG, founded officially in 1966, is a non-partisan, non-religious organization dedicated to building personal, cultural and economic ties between Germans and Israelis.