An Indian couple accused of spying on Sikh and Kashmiri communities in Germany went on trial this Thursday on charges that carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
They are charged with spying on Sikh opposition and suspected Kashmiri separatist groups and passing on the information to India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing.
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.
“Manmohan S. agreed… to provide information about Germany’s Sikh community and Kashmir movement and their relatives to an employee of the Indian foreign intelligence service Research & Analysis Wing,” prosecutors said in a statement earlier this year.
His wife joined him in monthly meetings with Raw officers between July and December 2017. In return for their service, the couple reportedly received a total of €7,200 ($7,974) from RAW.
Sikhs in Germany number between 10,000 and 20,000 — their third biggest community in Europe after Britain and Italy, according to the religious rights group REMID.
While the trial begins on Thursday, further hearings are scheduled up until December 12. If convicted, the couple may be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.