We first reported the case of Frode Berg just a few weeks ago (see: http://spyingtoday.com/2019/03/28/frode-berg/). Berg has admitted that he acted as a courier for the Norwegian intelligence services, but claims that he was an innocent dupe. Today (17 April) his trial concluded and he was sentenced to fourteen years hard labour. His lawyer, Ilya Novikov, has pointed out that, given Berg’s age (63), this is, in effect, a life sentence. Novikov does not plan to appeal the decision.
But do not despair just yet.
Sources in Norway have told us that the Norwegian government is hopeful of striking a deal with Russia for Berg’s early release. What the elements of that deal would be are not yet known, but Berg’s lawyer has intimated that Berg is hoping for an early pardon from President Putin. Our sources said that such a deal would be based on clemency because of Berg’s age and the fact that he is a civilian rather than a cadre officer. They say that Russia is likely to agree to the deal because the Kremlin would like better relations with its neighbour where tensions have been rising in recent years. It is expected that as part of the deal, the message from Russia will be: “We will let you have this one, but you owe us – and don’t do it again as next time we will not be so forgiving.”