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Moscow court sentences Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison over treason charges

A court in Moscow has sentenced Ivan Safronov, a former Kommersant columnist and advisor to the head of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, to 22 years in maximum-security prison over high treason charges, a newsperson for Novaya Gazeta Europe reports from the courthouse.

The trial was closed to the press and the general public. The court only announced the punishment for Safronov, and left their statement of reasons undisclosed.

The prosecutor requested for a 24-year punishment for Safronov earlier, a 500,000 rubles (€8,300) fine, a 2-year custodial restraint and a “damage compensation”. Safronov was offered to plead guilty and receive a 12-year sentence instead, but refused, lawyer Yevgeny Smirnov says.

Ivan Safronov has been held in a pre-trial detention centre since June 2020. He was accused of handing over classified information to Czechia’s intelligence. The FSB refused to reveal the details of Safronov’s case even to his defence until they finished the investigation.

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Proekt, an independent Russian media outlet, analysed the indictment papers in the case. Having examined the documents, the journalists discovered that the prosecution never found the weapon of the crime, found no witnesses and did not establish a motive, while all the allegedly “secret” information was publicly available.

The indictment also included testimony from journalists often far removed from the military sphere. For example, says Proekt, Human Rights Committee member Ekaterina Vinokurova was briefed on Safronov's correspondence with Czech citizen Martin Larysh by investigators, after which she stated that these matters “allow for the disclosure” of state secrets.

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#Ivan Safronov #high treason #political oppression #political prisoners #crmsk
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