Thomas H: German Military Officer & AfD Member Jailed for Spying for Russia

Thomas H: German Military Officer & AfD Member Jailed for Spying for Russia

A German military officer, identified as Thomas H, has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for espionage on behalf of Russia.

Thomas H, who served as a captain in the army’s procurement office, contacted the Russian embassy in Berlin and transmitted secret military information.

German police apprehended Thomas H in Koblenz in August, charging him with sharing photographs of munitions training systems and aircraft technology.

The 54-year-old confessed in a Düsseldorf court to passing information to Russia, expressing deep regret for his actions, which he described as the “biggest mess” of his life.

Prosecutors reported that Thomas H approached the Russian embassy in Berlin and the consulate in Bonn on his own initiative, persistently offering his services to Russia.

He photographed sensitive military documents and delivered them via the consulate’s letterbox in Bonn.

In his closing statement, Thomas H explained that he reached out to the Russian embassy due to his concerns about the threat of nuclear war, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He feared that Germany’s supply of heavy weaponry to Ukraine might entangle the country in the conflict.

According to government data, Berlin provided around €6.6 billion (£5.62 billion) in military hardware to Ukraine during 2022 and 2023, including 40 Leopard 1 tanks and 100 infantry fighting vehicles.

Thomas H claimed that chronic overwork had impaired his judgment. His lawyer argued that he had been influenced by pro-Russian propaganda and disinformation on platforms like TikTok and Telegram.

Additionally, the lawyer noted that Thomas H had joined the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and made his decision during a brief period in which he “crossed red lines.”

While prosecutors acknowledged that Thomas H had leaked sensitive military information, they clarified that he had not disclosed state secrets, which would have resulted in a much harsher, potentially lifetime, sentence.

This trial is part of a broader context of espionage incidents involving Russia in Germany. In April, two men with dual Russian-German citizenship were arrested for allegedly spying on US army bases in Germany where Ukrainian soldiers were being trained.

Since December, Carsten L, an employee of German domestic intelligence, has been on trial for allegedly passing classified data to Russian agents.

Additionally, in February 2023, a former security guard at the British embassy in Berlin was sentenced to 13 years in prison for sharing significant amounts of sensitive information with the Russian embassy.

These incidents have ignited a debate about the adequacy of Germany’s security measures. The government has conceded that more cases of espionage may surface.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann stated in a recent television interview that Germany remains a target for foreign espionage and predicted that more spies would likely be exposed in the coming months.

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