COPENHAGEN, Feb 4 (Reuters) – A Danish district court on Friday found three members of an Iranian Arab opposition group guilty of financing and supporting terrorist activity in Iran in collaboration with Saudi Arabian intelligence services as well as espionage, local news wire Ritzau reported.
The three members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) were arrested two years ago and have been in custody since.
The defendants face prison sentences of up to 12 years for numerous offences, including providing information about Danish and foreign organisations and individuals to a Saudi Arabian intelligence service.
The court will decide on sentencing in March.
All three defendants also face potential deportation, and one also risks having his Danish citizenship revoked.
ASMLA seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran’s oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy.
The three men were also convicted of endorsing attacks against Iran and supporting the militant group Jaish al-Adl, which operates in Iran and is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States.
In a related case, a Norwegian of Iranian heritage was sentenced to seven years in May last year for spying for an Iranian intelligence service and plotting to assassinate one of the ASMLA-members.
The two cases have exposed an intelligence power struggle on Danish soil between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and led Denmark to call for EU-wide sanctions on Iran in 2018 following the Norwegian man’s arrest.
(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Angus MacSwan)