20 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Professor convicted of ‘spying’ will not appeal five-month sentence

Timo Kivimäki, the Finnish professor of international politics at the University of Copenhagen who in May received a five-month prison sentence for ‘mild espionage’, will not appeal against the sentence due to the high costs involved, according to the university’s newsletter.

In an interview with University Post, he also revealed more information on the case, stating that 99% of his cooperation with Russian diplomats was focused on research-based information, notably on the war in Iraq and a potential pre-emptive strike against Iran.

Kivimäki has been summoned to discussions with the leaders of Copenhagen University, which is normal procedure for a person receiving a prison sentence, a university spokesman stated.

He reportedly hopes to close the case and continue his work at the university. He has been suspended since April due to the case against him. The prosecutor had asked for the academic to be deported.

Helsingin Sanomat, the international edition of Finland's largest newspaper, said it is believed that Kivimäki will be able to serve his five-month sentence under a form of house arrest.

The prison sentence imposed on Kivimäki has raised fears over its implications for conducting research, for instance via knowledge-sharing meetings or being in dialogue with people from embassies.

Kivimäki was charged with a breach of section 108 of the Danish penal code, which covers so-called ‘mild espionage’.

He took part in a large number of meetings with Russian diplomats between 2002 and 2010. The prosecutor argued that Kivimäki had known he was meeting Russian agents rather than diplomats.

Kivimäki admitted to having planned to give Russian diplomats contact information on Danish researchers, but stressed that the information was publicly available on the world wide web. He said he had seen no evidence that the people he met were spies.

The case also raised concern over the implications for students whose names were passed to the Russian diplomats.

Related Links
Espionage professor’s jail sentence prompts fears for researchers
Academic charged with ’spying’ for the Russians

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