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Prosecution seeks 24-year prison sentence for ex-journalist Ivan Safronov
More than two years after he was arrested on charges of high treason, state prosecutors have requested that Ivan Safronov be sentenced to 24 years in maximum-security penal colony, Interfax reported on Tuesday, citing the Moscow City Court.
A former Kommersant journalist and Roscosmos communications adviser, Safronov was arrested in July 2020 and has been in pre-trial custody ever since. The Russian FSB claims that Safronov passed state secrets to Czech and German intelligence when he was working as a journalist in 2015– 2017.
Update. According to Safronov’s defense team, prosecutor Boris Loktionov asked the court to sentence their client to not only 24 years in prison, but also a 500,000-ruble ($8,000) fine and parole-like “restrictions on freedom” for a period of two years. The court is set to deliver a verdict on September 5, his lawyers added.
Safronov’s defense team maintains that the case is connected to his past work as a defense reporter. 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 rejected it.
On Monday, the investigative outlet Proekt published an in-depth study of the indictment in the Safronov case, which concluded that the treason charges are baseless. The journalists also found that almost all of the “classified” information that Safronov is accused of passing to Western intelligence agencies is publicly available online.
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