DUESSELDORF, GERMANY, DEC. 6 -- Infamous East German spymaster Markus Wolf was found guilty today of treason and bribery and sentenced to six years in prison, as his controversial trial ended amid cries that he is a victim of a "victor's justice."
The remarkable court case concluded with the former East German spy convicted of betraying a country -- West Germany -- of which he was never a citizen.
As the legendary head of East Germany's spy agency from 1958 to 1987, the tall and refined Wolf created one of the Cold War's most effective intelligence operations and directed agents who scored embarrassing coups against their West German counterparts.
Chief Judge Klaus Wagner declared in court that Wolf's actions had endangered West German security. "He has not been convicted as a symbol of the former East Germany, but instead because of his responsibility for espionage against West Germany," he said.
Dressed in an elegant dark suit, Wolf's face remained unchanged as Wagner announced the verdict, but some spectators hissed and shouted "Shame!" and "Scandal!"
Wolf, 70, said the verdict was preordained and called the seven-month trial "a mist behind which the political character of this, so to speak, victor's justice, was to be hidden."
Reading the decision of the five-judge panel, Wagner pointedly denied accusations that Germany had subjected Wolf to a show trial. "This verdict is not a political verdict," he said, prompting guffaws from spectators and a wry smile from Wolf.
Wolf remained free pending the outcome of an appeal, a process expected to last six months. In addition, the verdict could be overturned when Germany's constitutional court rules next year on whether East German spies should be tried in the courts of the united Germany.
Wolf, who earned the sobriquet "man without a face" for his success in evading Western attempts to photograph him, listened as Wagner read a three-hour chronicle of the spy's long career.
Included were some of this century's most famous espionage cases, such as that of Guenter Guillaume, the East German "mole" whose unmasking in 1974 brought down West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.
Some of the damage from Wolf's espionage is still being tallied, such as from the "Topaz" case, in which his agents infiltrated NATO headquarters in Brussels as well as West German intelligence.
Wolf never denied involvement in such espionage, admitting to the government's charges when the trial opened in May. But he maintained the actions were on behalf of a sovereign government and no different from those conducted by Western agencies.