Record number of treason cases heard in Russian courts this year

Russian courts have heard a record number of treason cases this year, over half of which resulted in a guilty verdict, according to a report published by human rights organisation First Department on Thursday.

While the report noted the challenge of providing the exact number of treason cases due to irregular reporting by the FSB, the organisation’s researchers found at least 64 treason cases mentioned in media reports in addition to the 30 reported by the press service of Russia’s Federal Security Service.

First Department said that over 100 criminal cases for treason had been initiated in Russia between July 2022 and July 2023. In some cases, they said a verdict was reached within a month of the case going to court and almost no details are made public.

Moscow courts have also begun to conceal information about treason cases, the report said, adding that it has been increasingly common for such cases to be transferred to regional courts.

“We don’t know about all the cases, as the authorities often don’t provide any information,” said First Department head Dmitry Zair-Bek, who nevertheless forecast a twofold increase in the number of treason convictions in the coming year.

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