Estonian court hands down long prison sentence to woman for spying for China

  • 2022-06-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Harju County Court on Friday convicted Gerli Mutso of two offenses against the state and one drug related offense and sentenced her to eight years and six months in prison.

The court found that the charges against the 42-year-old, including conspiracy against the Republic of Estonia, participation in and support for intelligence activities against the Republic of Estonia, and illegal handling of small quantities of drugs, had been fully substantiated by the evidence examined in court.

The evidence presented to the court left no reasonable doubt that Mutso knowingly established a relationship directed against the Republic of Estonia with the military intelligence service of the People's Republic of China with the aim of assisting the latter. She also participated in and supported intelligence activities against Estonia.

According to the court, it has been established that Mutso received a total of at least 21,607.52 euros in return for her activities, which included both financial remuneration and other benefits.

As regards crimes against the state, the court decided to increase the punishment requested by the prosecutor and to sentence Mutso to four years and six months in prison for committing a conspiracy against the Republic of Estonia, to eight years and six months in prison for intelligence activities against the Republic of Estonia and support thereof, and to six months in prison for the drug related offense. In the court's opinion, it was justified to consider the lighter sentences to be covered by the heavier ones, and thus the sentence to be served is eight years and six months of non-conditional imprisonment.

The court stated that said punishment is appropriate to Mutso's person and the extent of her guilt, and is also in the interests of protecting the legal order. In imposing the sentence, the court took into account the fact that Mutso had no previous convictions, but that, given her conscious actions, her motive in committing the offense and the duration of her actions, it cannot be said that this was in any way a random episode in the life of the accused. It was a deliberate and sustained act which was brought to an end by the intervention of law enforcement authorities, the court said.

The court also ordered Mutso to pay into the state coffers the criminal proceeds in the amount of 21,607.52 euros, which she had spent and could therefore not be confiscated, as well as procedural costs in the amount of 2,649 euros.

Media have previously reported that Mutso collaborated with Chinese military intelligence in a tandem with marine scientist Tarmo Kouts, whom the Harju County Court  sentenced to three years' imprisonment in March 2021. The court also confiscated 17,000 euros from the Tallinn University of Technology researcher as proceeds of crime. In March this year, the Viru County Court granted Kouts, a namesake of the former commander of the Estonian defense forces, release on parole.