A court has sentenced an Estonian woman found guilty of spying on behalf of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to eight years and six months in prison.
The first-tier Harju County Court on Friday found Gerli Mutso, 42, guilty of two offenses against the state, plus of one drug-related offense, and has also ordered her to return the €21,607.52 she received as illegal proceeds in her espionage activities, as well as to pay an additional €2,649 in costs, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
Mutso had collaborated with another Estonian citizen, Tarmo Kouts, a marine scientist of no relation to a former defense forces chief of the same name, and who in March 2021 was sentenced to three years in prison for espionage on behalf of China – he has subsequently been released on parole.
Mutso was convicted of conspiracy against the Republic of Estonia, participation in and support for intelligence activities against the Republic of Estonia, and the illegal handling of small quantities of drugs, while Harju County Court found evidence admitted left no reasonable doubt that Mutso had done so knowingly, both in respect of serving the PRC's military intelligence service and in taking part in and supporting intelligence activities counter to Estonia's interests.
The court opted to nearly double Mutso's sentence, from four years and six months in prison to eight years and six months in prison, along with six months in respect of the drugs charges, to be served concurrently, arguing that the sentence is in line with Mutso's guilt – the duration and deliberate nature of the actions, which only ended with the intervention of law enforcement, made it impossible to find them as random or incidental events, though the decision can be appealed at the second-tier Tallinn Circuit Court within 15 days of Friday's ruling.
Editor: Andrew Whyte