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Russian lawmakers receive hundreds of appeals on behalf of jailed journalist Ivan Safronov

Source: TV Rain

Friends and colleagues of jailed former journalist Ivan Safronov, who was arrested on treason charges in July, have sent State Duma deputies hundreds of appeals drawing attention to his case, an initiative group in support of Safronov told the independent television channel TV Rain (Dozhd ).

The messages aim to draw attention to the “utterly inflated” treason charges against Safronov, which allow for his trial to take place behind closed doors and allow for the exact charges against him not to be disclosed, TV Rain reports.

Ivan Safronov previously worked as an investigative journalist reporting on Russia’s military-industrial complex for the Russian business newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti. He went to work as a communications advisor to the head of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos in May 2020.

On July 7, federal agents arrested him on treason charges. According to the investigation, Safronov passed state secrets to Czech intelligence when he was working for Kommersant in 2017. Investigators have never specified what classified information they are referring to. Safronov maintains that he isn’t guilty and his defense lawyers are confident that he is being persecuted for his previous journalistic work. While investigators insist that Safronov’s case has nothing to do with his journalism, they did offer him a plea bargain in exchange for naming his journalistic sources. Safronov turned it down.

“We think it’s important that information about Safronov’s case be brought to every deputy and senator, and to every accountable official. There’s no other option, we know that all government agencies are closed to visitors right now, so [we’re sending] appeals,” said Maxim Ivanov, a member of the initiative group.

TV Rain

The initiative group added that more than 140 deputies, journalists, and human rights activists offered personal surety for Safronov. However, according to the initiative group, the court ignored all of these offers.

Ivan Safronov has been in custody in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison since July 7. At the beginning of September, his arrest was extended until December 7.