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Danish court ups fines for publishing banned spy memoirs

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Danish appeals court on Thursday increased the fines given to a major newspaper group and its chief editor for publishing a book based on interviews with Denmark’s former domestic intelligence agency chief that the spy service had claimed could contain secrets.

The Eastern High Court said the Politiken media group and the daily’s boss Christian Jensen violated a ban by publishing the book, which is based on Jakob Scharf’s seven years as head of the Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service, known as PET.

The court ordered the newspaper to pay 250,000 kroner ($36,000) and Jensen 100,000 ($15,000). In 2016, the lower Copenhagen City Court sentenced them to pay fines of respectively 100,000 kroner and 50,000 kroner.

On Oct. 6, 2016, PET issued court injunctions against 40 bookstores and Politiken’s media group, JP/Politiken, which also includes the Jyllands-Posten and Ekstra Bladet newspapers. While stores didn’t sell the book, Politiken published it as a supplement to its subscribers on Oct. 9, citing freedom of the press.

Danish media had widely criticized the court injunction, with Ekstra Bladet chief editor Poul Madsen saying it was “completely ludicrous” that PET “dictates what the free press should print.”

Scharf, PET chief from 2007-2013, was in charge when the agency foiled terror attacks, mainly linked to the 2005 publication in a newspaper of 12 cartoons by various artists depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

There was no immediate reaction from the Politiken daily.

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