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Alleged East German Spy Says He Had No Choice With AM-Germany-Terrorist, Bjt

June 13, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ A German researcher hired 30 years ago by a French government scientific agency testified Wednesday that he had no choice but to become a spy for East Germany’s secret service.

Rolf Dobbertin is accused of passing on confidential information about nuclear research and other topics to East Germany for 20 years, ending in 1979.

His trial on espionage charges began Wednesday. The case is expected to hinge on the issue of whether the information he divulged was genuinely top secret.

Dobbertin, 55, said he came to France after being awarded a grant to study abroad. But he said he would not have been allowed to accept it unless the secret service approved.

″In our country, nothing could be done without the authorization of the security services,″ he said. ″Don’t forget this was during the Cold War. They wanted to be able to contact me at any moment, and I had to learn how to code and decode messages.″

He said his handlers mistrusted him because he had married a West German woman while living in Paris.

Judge Maurice Colomb asked if Dobbertin still considered himself a Marxist, as he was in his youth.

″Marxism doesn’t have a big future in the East,″ Dobbertin replied.

Dobbertin was unmasked in 1979 and held in custody for four years during complex legal proceedings before being released on bail in 1983. He has resumed his post at France’s National Center for Scientific Research.

A verdict is expected Friday.

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