A city court in Moscow ordered on Tuesday that Frode Berg, the retired border inspector from Kirkenes, be held in prison until December 5. Then it will be a year since Berg was arrested during a weekend holiday visit to Moscow, and charged with delivering cash and documents on behalf of Norwegian intelligence.
Berg has been through a nightmare year, and been in such despair that he’s openly cried in court. State broadcaster NRK reported that on Tuesday, however, Berg’s Russian defense attorney Ilya Novikov was more optimistic that Berg may finally be released.
“We expect a happy ending,” Novikov told NRK. “We don’t think Frode Berg will have to sit for 20 years in a Russian prison. I hope that he’s now only months away from being able to go home.”
Both had hoped Berg might be subject to a spy swap after Norwegian authorities arrested a Russian in Oslo earlier this fall and charged him with espionage. He was recently released by an Oslo court, however, for lack of evidence.
Berg has admitted that he fears he was duped into carrying and delivering envelopes in Russia on behalf of Norwegians who may have been tied to intelligence services. He was carrying 3,000 euros in cash when arrested in Moscow on December 5 last year.