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Memorial calls journalist Ivan Safronov a political prisoner

The human rights organization Memorial called journalist Ivan Safronov, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison on treason charges, a political prisoner.

According to the organization, the FSB did not prove Safronov’s guilt during the legal process.

Human rights activists criticize the prosecution’s claims that the journalist associated with foreign intelligence agents, noting that only the only confirmation of those claims is the opinion of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service. Activists also say that the information Safronov allegedly exchanged was in the public domain and was arbitrarily declared secret.

“In addition to the traditional spy-o-mania, the prosecution of Safronov may be motivated by his previous journalistic activities and by special services’ desire to change the way media cover topics that are sensitive for law enforcement agencies,” activists note.

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The Moscow City Court sentenced Safronov to 22 years in a high-security prison on September 5, 2022. At the time of the verdict the journalist had been in jail for more than two years.

Safronov insists he is innocent. He repeatedly refused to make a deal with the prosecution, including an offer to reveal his journalistic sources in exchange for a lighter sentence.

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