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Peskov: Safronov’s sentence is harsh, he needs to plead guilty to get free pardon

Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, says Ivan Safronov’s sentence was harsh.

“It is the court’s decision, and I may not comment on it. Yes, we acknowledge that this is a very harsh sentence,” he said as he spoke to RBC.

Peskov also noted that Russian law implies the right to free pardon. “However, asking for free pardon requires pleading guilty. If I’m not mistaken, Safronov did otherwise,” he said.

Kommersant, the media outlet Safronov worked for, published their address to Safronov on the front page:

"We wish to say to you that you, Ivan, is a great journalist and a fine man, too. We have not seen any true evidence to support this sentence, We are 100% sure that you would definitely be cleared of all charges should the current situation be different. In fact, there would be no case against you at all. Unfortunately, one cannot choose the time they live in. You made your choice, and you’ve been a true role model for the past two years. You did not give up, so we’re sure you will not give up in the future, too. We are sure you will cope with all these challenges. We love you and we believe in you."

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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. 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.

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