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04 Sep 2007 14:14
A South African court sentenced a German man to 18 years in prison on Tuesday but suspended the jail term after he pleaded guilty in a case involving a global black market in atomic weapons technology.
Gerhard Wisser, an engineer living in South Africa, was accused of having ties to a network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb who has admitted giving nuclear secrets to nations under international embargo.
Wisser pleaded guilty to manufacturing components that could be used in nuclear development illegally and six other charges in a deal with prosecutors in Pretoria. The state agreed that his sentence be suspended for five years.
Swiss citizen Daniel Geiges, who was also charged in the same case, is due to appear in court on September 21 to face similar charges.
The case is part of an international effort to crack what prosecutors say is a trade network that helped Libya, North Korea and Iran skirt sanctions in their quest for nuclear technology.
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