Germany considers extradition of Briton who ‘spied for Russia’

A former employee of the British embassy in Berlin suspected of spying for Russia faces being extradited to the UK, officials told AFP on Friday.

The British Embassy in Berlin.
The British Embassy in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

The prosecutors’ office in Brandenburg was examining an extradition request from the UK government, as first reported by the German weekly Spiegel.

Referred to as David S. by prosecutors, but identified as David Smith by local media, he is said to have “passed on documents he acquired as part of his professional activities to a representative of Russian intelligence”, according to the federal prosecutors’ office.

Employed at the British embassy in Berlin, “the accused received a cash payment in an unspecified amount in return,” the prosecutor’s office said at the time of Smith’s arrest.

The suspect is said to have passed on information relating to both Britain and Germany to Russian intelligence, according to Spiegel, who reported that the man opposed his extradition.

His arrest in August was the result of a joint operation by British and German authorities.

READ ALSO: Briton accused of spying on Germany for Russia

He is the latest in a string of suspected Russian spies to have been uncovered in Germany.

In June, German police arrested a Russian scientist at a German university accused of working for the Russian secret service.

In February, German prosecutors filed espionage charges against a German man suspected of having passed the floor plans of parliament to Russian secret services in 2017.

The latest espionage case also comes at a time of highly strained relations between Germany and Russia on multiple fronts, including the ongoing detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who received treatment in Berlin after a near-fatal poisoning.

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Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.