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Treason Charge For German Who Defected From West To East In 1978

January 29, 1993

BERLIN (AP) _ A navy flier who defected from West Germany to East Germany in 1978 has been charged with high treason for giving secrets to Communist authorities, the federal prosecutor’s office announced Friday.

The man, identified only as Erhard M., 56, had lived under an assumed name in Dresden in eastern Germany until he was arrested in April 1991, after German unification, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

It said he had the rank of lieutenant when he defected on Nov. 4, 1978. He was interrogated until the following May by East German agents and ″revealed his entire knowledge gained in the service,″ prosecutors said.

Conviction for high treason can result in life imprisonment. But the prosecutor’s office said Erhard M. had been free since June 1991.

No trial date was announced.

1236EST

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