Guenter Guillaume, the self-confessed East German spy whose arrest prompted willy Brandt's resignation as chancellor, was convicted of high treason on Monday (15 December) and sentenced to 13 years in jail.
Guenter Guillaume, the self-confessed East German spy whose arrest prompted willy Brandt's resignation as chancellor, was convicted of high treason on Monday (15 December) and sentenced to 13 years in jail. His wife, Christel, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of complicity.
The court in Dusseldorf accepted the prosecution's contention that Guillaume -- Willy Brandt's personal aide for Party and Labour Union Affairs, had committed "treason of the highest order" by passing state secrets to East Germany. Guillaume was also found guilty of breach of secrecy,.
The arrest of Guillaume and his wife 20 months ago, forced the resignation of Chancellor Brandt a week later. Guillaume identified himself to arresting police as an officer in the East German People's Army assigned to the East German Ministry for State Security, which had sent him and his wife into West Germany in 1956 to spy on Herr Brandt's Social Democratic Party.
In court however, Guillaume refused to answer the government charge that he had committed high treason by stealing state secrets once he had access to them in the West German Government Chancellory.
The Prosecution claimed that all evidence gathered by the security police indicated that Guillaume was a skilled espionage agent who would have stolen any state secret available to him and transmitted it to East Germany.
As the only aide to accompany Herr Brandt on a vacation to Norway in the summer of 1973, Guillaume handled a variety of uncoded secret documents for the Chancellor, including a letter from United States President Richard Nixon on relations within the Atlantic Alliance.
While boasting he was an East German agent, Guillaume never admitted stealing anything in Norway. And Guillaume's attorney said that his client should be sentenced to no more than five years in prison -- the maximum for an agent of a foreign intelligence service.
In explaining its verdict, the court confirmed for the first time that among the secret documents passed onto East Berlin by Guillame was correspondence to Chancellor Brandt from ex-President Nixon.
Speculation of an impending deal to free Guillaume and his wife was fed by recent reports the couple's 18 year old son, Pierre had crossed into East Germany.
SYNOPSIS: Dusseldorf, West Germany where on Monday Guenter Guillaume the self-confessed East German spy was jailed for espionage.
Guillaume -- seen here kissing his wife Christel who was sentenced to eight years for complicity -- was jailed for thirteen years by the court.
Guillaume's arrest prompted Willy Brandt's resignation as West German Chancellor. He was Chancellor Brandt's personal aide for Party and Labour Union Affairs.
The court accepted the prosecution charge that Guillaume committed treason of the highest order by passing state secrets to East Germany. The prosecution alleged that these included correspondence from ex-U.S. President, Richard Nixon.
However, Guillaume never admitted passing state secrets to East Germany -- although he boasted to security officials that he was an agent for the East German Intelligence Service.