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French ex-spies on trial for ‘sharing secrets’ with China

AFP
Paris
The trial of two former French spies suspected of sharing secrets with China opened in a Paris criminal court on Monday, behind closed doors for reasons of national security.
Identified only as Pierre-Marie H, 69, and Henri M, 73, both were counter-intelligence agents with France’s DGSE foreign intelligence service in the 1990s.
While the charge sheet reads like a spy thriller, the two white-haired men resembled ordinary retirees as they appeared before a panel of judges to answer to the charges, with Henri M shuffling towards the dock, and Pierre-Marie H appearing to have trouble hearing the proceedings.
They risk 15 years in prison on charges of “delivering information to a foreign power”, “harming the fundamental interests of the nation,” and sharing “intelligence with a foreign power.” It was the prosecution team that requested a private hearing, with only the accused, judges, defence lawyers and agents from the interior and defence ministries present. They argued it was necessary to “prevent the disclosure of information relating to national defence”.
Journalists were ordered to leave the courtroom after the judges agreed to hear the matter in secret.
The case concerned “penetration by a foreign power of French intelligence”, said the office of the advocate general, which advises judges on matters of procedure.
A verdict is expected on July 10.