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Jailed journalist Ivan Safronov interrogated as witness in felony case against his lawyer

Source: Interfax

Former journalist Ivan Safronov, who has been in pretrial detention for more than a year, has been questioned as a witness in the criminal case against his lawyer — prominent human rights attorney Ivan Pavlov.

The lawyer, who stands accused of disclosing information from the pretrial investigation against Safronov, told Interfax on Monday, July 26, that his client was interrogated last week.

“Since a ban on communicating with witnesses in my criminal case is among the prohibitions imposed on me by the Basmanny Court as measures of restraint, this means that now I can’t communicate with my client,” Pavlov said. 

At the same time, the lawyer stressed that he is still representing Safronov’s interests in the case.

In April 2021, the Russian authorities detained Ivan Pavlov on charges of disclosing information from a pretrial investigation. The lawyer stands accused of sharing a copy of the resolution bringing charges against Safronov with the media, and of telling the press about a secret witness in the treason case. Pavlov was banned from using the Internet and mobile communications ahead of the trial, as well as from contacting witnesses in the case against him. If convicted, he faces up to three months in jail and disbarment. 

On July 7, 2020, federal agents arrested Ivan Safronov on treason charges. According to the FSB, Safronov passed state secrets to Czech intelligence when he was working as a journalist for the business newspaper Kommersant in 2017. 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 deal in exchange for naming his journalistic sources. Safronov has refused all offered plea bargains. 

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