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Jailed former journalist Ivan Safronov turns down another plea bargain

Source: Ivan Pavlov

Former journalist and Roscosmos communications advisor Ivan Safronov, who is in jail awaiting trial for treason, refused another plea bargain with investigators, said his lawyer Ivan Pavlov.

“A few days ago, an investigator came to Ivan Safronov’s cell [and] talked about the fate of Sergey Mikhailov and Ruslan Stoyanov (there was one such high-profile treason case several years ago) and again proposed a deal with the investigation,” Pavlov wrote on Telegram on Friday, November 19.

“Never before in my memory have investigators used such a wide-ranging arsenal to break the accused: a ban on phone calls with relatives and correspondence, new episodes [in] the case with [Demuri] Voronin and leaks to the media about Japanese diplomats, threats and blackmail, offers of cooperation and a deal with the investigation, solitary and punitive conferment, criminal prosecution of [his] lawyer…Safronov’s case is a case of unprecedented pressure and unprecedented resilience,” Pavlov wrote.

Federal agents arrested Ivan Safronov on treason charges in July 2020. November 19, 2021, marks his five hundredth day in pre-trial custody. Safronov maintains his innocence and believes he is being persecuted for his previous journalistic work.

According to the Russian FSB, Safronov passed state secrets to Czech intelligence when he was working as a journalist for the business newspaper Kommersant in 2017. The final indictment revealed that Safronov also stands accused of passing information about Russian troops in Syria to political scientist Demuri Voronin (the latter was jailed on treason charges in February 2021).

Investigators insist that Safronov’s case has nothing to do with his journalism, but in July 2020, they offered him a plea bargain in exchange for naming his journalistic sources. Safronov turned down the deal.

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