An Indian couple accused of spying on Sikh and Kashmiri communities in Germany went on trial on Thursday on charges that carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The suspects were charged in March and have been named only as Manmohan S., 50, and his wife Kanwal Jit K., 51, in keeping with German privacy rules for defendants. Their trial was being held in a court in Frankfurt.
Starting from January 2015, Manmohan, 50, had allegedly obtained information on Kashmiri separatist and Sikh groups operating in Germany and passed it on to officials of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), posted at the Indian Consulate in Frankfurt, the report said.
His wife joined him in monthly meetings with the Indian intelligence officer between July and December 2017, and in total the couple were paid 7,200 euros ($8,100).
The further hearings are scheduled up until December 12. If convicted, the couple may be jailed for up to 10 years.
Sikhs are a religious minority in Germany. Many German Sikhs have their roots from Punjab and number between 15,000 to 21,000. Germany has the third-highest Sikh population in Europe after the UK and Italy.