PET investigates Iranian planning of assassination on Danish soil

In co-operation with a number of partners, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) has been working on a highly unusual and very serious case for an extended period of time. The case relates to Iranian intelligence activities and planning of an assassination of an individual residing in Denmark.

The case gave rise to the very comprehensive police operation that was mounted across Denmark on 28 September 2018, during which bridges were shut down and train operation suspended.

As stated by the Copenhagen Police the day after the operation, PET has been working on a case involving tangible threats to specific individuals. Since the spring of 2018, PET has thus provided personal protection for the leader of ASMLA (Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz) in Denmark as a result of tangible threats which, in the assessment of PET, emanate from Iran.

In the days leading up to 28 September 2018, PET established that an individual was conducting reconnaissance in the vicinity of and photographed the residence of the ASMLA leader. PET’s investigation, which took place in close collaboration with foreign partners, gave reason to assume that the individual in question intended to pass on the information to an Iranian intelligence service with a view to the information forming part of the plans to assassinate the leader of ASMLA on Danish soil.

On 21 October 2018, the individual, who is a Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent, was arrested and, on 22 October 2018, sentenced to remand in solitary confinement, so far until 8 November 2018. The court has thus found that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the man in custody, from 25 to 27 September 2018, conducted reconnaissance in the vicinity of and photographed the residence of the leader of ASMLA with the purpose of passing the collected information to Iranian authorities and that, in doing so, he took part in the planning of the assassination of the ASMLA leader.

With regard to the man in custody, an investigation is ongoing. He denies all charges. Once the investigation is concluded, it will be up to the Prosecution Service and, ultimately, the courts to assess the case. However, when PET now states that there is sufficient basis to conclude that an Iranian intelligence service has been planning the assassination of an individual living in Denmark, it is not only based on the case against the man in custody, but on comprehensive intelligence efforts.

Concurrently with the investigation of the case, PET is paying close attention to the aspect of whether members of ASMLA have violated the Danish Criminal Code, for instance by condoning the attack in Iran on 22 September 2018. This issue is being investigated by PET and the Mid- and West Zealand Police.
However, it is important to emphasize that regardless of whether or not the individuals in question are found to have violated Danish legislation, plans by a foreign intelligence service to assassinate an individual in Denmark are in no way justifiable.

The remand does not change the fact that, in the opinion of PET, a threat against the individuals in question continues to exist. As a result of this threat, security measures will remain in place in relation to the affected individuals and events organized by ASMLA.