An Estonian who worked as a recruiter for the Chinese intelligence was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison by the county court of Harju County; the sentence was almost twice as long as the state prosecutor’s office demanded.
The trial judge, Mairi Heinsalu, said in her verdict that Gerli Mutso worked for the Chinese military intelligence for four years and she recruited the Estonian marine scientist, Tarmo Kõuts (not to be confused with the former commander of the Estonian Defence Forces; just a person by the same name), to work for the Chinese.
The judge emphasised that Mutso was acting for her own benefit, gaining over €21,000 for her actions from the Chinese. That was the reason the judge sentenced her to a significantly longer prison term than requested by the state prosecutor.
“Gerli Mutso’s actions were aware and ongoing, and it became more intensive over time,” the judge said, according to Eesti Ekspress, an Estonian weekly newspaper. “She did everything to recruit more people and forward information to the Chinese military intelligence. She was very aware about what she was doing – damaging the security of Estonia,” Heinsalu said.
The state prosecutor’s office demanded a five-and-a-half-year sentence for the Chinese spy. According to the law, this would have been below the average sentence for crimes against the state.
The court indicated that Mutso’s intelligence activities would have been even more intensive, but they were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the verdict, Mutso was convicted of two treasonous acts – a conspiracy against the Republic of Estonia, and supporting intelligence activities against the Republic of Estonia.