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CRIME

Suspected Russian spy pair arrested

German Federal Police have arrested a man and woman on suspicion of having spied for Russia's foreign intelligence service for over two decades, according to a Saturday news report.

Suspected Russian spy pair arrested
Photo: DPA

Der Spiegel magazine said the married couple had been working undercover in Germany. Known as Heidrun and Andreas A., both suspects deny the accusations.

Police reportedly walked in on the woman while she was listening to encoded radio transmissions. A task force from the German Federal Police or Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), arrested the pair last Tuesday in Marburg and Balingen, in central Germany.

They also confiscated two Austrian passports that appeared to have been forged.

The documents stated that Andreas A. was born in Argentina, while Heidrun A.’s birthplace was listed as Peru. But inquiries made by German authorities in South America confirmed that the passport data had been falsified.

Der Spiegel said authorities believe the two alleged spies have been working in Germany since the KGB, the Soviet Union’s spy agency, was still in operation.

They started investigating the couple after the Federal Bureau of Investigation busted a Russian spy ring in the United States.

The Local/arp

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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