Russia detains Norwegian man for alleged espionage: report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-20 00:22:34|Editor: yan
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OSLO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- A 62-year-old Norwegian man has been arrested in Russia on suspicion of espionage for foreign powers, local media reported Tuesday.

Frode Berg was arrested earlier this month due to possession of secret documents in Moscow and was accused of sharing sensitive information about the Russian North Fleet with U.S. and Norwegian authorities, broadcaster TV2 said, quoting Russian media.

Moscow's Lefortovsky court ruled on Dec. 6 to detain Berg until Feb. 5. Spying has a penalty of ten to 20 years in prison, according to Russian law.

"The foreign service at the embassy in Moscow has been in contact with the prisoner, and assistance is provided in accordance with the current guidelines and framework for consular assistance for Norwegian citizens detained abroad," Frode Overland Andersen, director of communications at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told TV 2.

He added that Berg got a lawyer and that the ministry could not provide further information about the reason of imprisonment "due to statutory duty of confidentiality."

The 62-year-old had worked as a border inspector in Kirkenes in northern Norway for 25 years before he retired in 2014. He remained affiliated with the border commissariat as part of a Norwegian-Russian border commission until summer 2016, according to TV2.

Berg is a board member of the company Pikene pa Broen, which is engaged in art and cultural projects in the Kirkenes area close to the border between Norway and Russia. He is also a member of the church council in Finnmark municipality and had previously been engaged in humanitarian work in Armenia, newspaper Aftenposten reported.