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Russian court sends Norwegian man to prison for espionage

MOSCOW (AP) — A Moscow court on Tuesday found a Norwegian man guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 14 years in a high-security prison. Retired Norwegian border inspector Frode Berg was arrested in Moscow in December 2017 and accused of collecting information about Russian nuclear submarines for Norwegian intelligence.

Prosecutors asserted that Berg was caught with documents he had received from an employee of a military facility who was shadowed by Russian intelligence. Berg denied the charges and his lawyer has called him a victim of a setup.

For years, the 63-year-old Berg had been a well-known figure in the Russian-Norwegian border area, taking an active role in cultural and humanitarian exchange projects. Berg's lawyer, Ilya Novikov, told the Interfax news agency that he and his client "do not see any point in" appealing the verdict but instead would submit a plea for a presidential pardon.

Berg's trial came up in talks between President Vladimir Putin and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in St. Petersburg last week. Asked about a possible pardon, Putin said he would wait for the verdict before weighing pleas for one.

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