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4 Aug, 2020 09:31

FSB says treason case against Russian former reporter Safronov isn’t related to his journalism, but won’t reveal charges

FSB says treason case against Russian former reporter Safronov isn’t related to his journalism, but won’t reveal charges

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has told the Russian Union of Journalists (UJR) the prosecution of former journalist Ivan Safronov – accused of spying for Czech intelligence – isn’t related to his career in journalism.

However, his attorney claims that the FSB has refused to disclose details of charges. "The FSB will not explain what exactly our client is charged with until the end of the pre-trial investigation," his attorney, Ivan Pavlov, told the TASS news agency. "Bearing in mind the fact that pre-trial investigations in such cases typically take from 12 to 18 months, further news on Safronov’s case cannot be expected soon.”

Safronov was arrested on July 7, having been accused of high treason. He denies any guilt and believes he was targeted because of his previous media work. He is being supported by a number of high-profile Russian journalists. Currently employed as an advisor to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, he was formerly a staff reporter at Moscow newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti.

Also on rt.com Ex-journalist Ivan Safronov charged with high treason, after allegedly passing secret information to NATO

In a letter that has since been published on the UJR website, the FSB told the UJR that the case “has nothing to do with his professional journalistic activities.” It contains no further details. The UJR intends to continue to watch the case, despite the response.

“We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation, and we’ll try to understand what is happening with the process. Because, after all, it’s possible that some new statements will be made in the course of the investigation and court proceedings,” the union’s chairman, Vladimir Solovyov, told the Interfax news agency. “We hope for more detailed information … so that civil society and the journalistic community will still receive an answer to why our former colleague was detained in this way and why such serious charges were brought against him.”

According to Pavlov, the defense attorneys have been told only that Safronov had allegedly been recruited by the Czech special services and, back in 2017, had handed over secret information about Russia’s military technical cooperation with African countries and its military activities in the Middle East. “We asked them to tell us when and how Safronov had been recruited, how the investigators think he had obtained access to state secrets, where and to whom he had handed over the secret information, and what kind of secret information it was. But our inquiry has been turned down,” he said.

Also on rt.com Ex-colleagues take to the streets in protest as former journalist Safronov is accused of spying for Czechs & Americans

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