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30 Nov, 2020 13:43

Russian journalist accused of selling secrets to NATO remanded in custody as treason investigation gets underway

Russian journalist accused of selling secrets to NATO remanded in custody as treason investigation gets underway

A Moscow court has ruled that Ivan Safronov, a former journalist and adviser to the head of Russia’s space agency, can be held for another three months over claims he gave confidential information to a foreign government.

Reporters were barred from the Lefortovo courtroom for the duration of the hearing, but Safronov’s girlfriend Ksenia Mironova and his sister Irina announced the decision to extend his arrest to the media on Monday. A former special correspondent for popular newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti, Safronov was arrested in July on treason charges. According to the FSB, Russia’s top security agency, he transferred secret data to Czech spies, who were acting on the orders of the US.

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

No further detail has yet been released on the allegations, but they are thought to relate to Russian arms exports to countries in the Middle East. Safronov often covered sensitive political and military subjects, but President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters at the time: “As far as we know, this is not in any way linked to his previous activity as a journalist.” Safronov denies the charges, which carry up to twenty years in prison if he is found guilty.

Also on rt.com Russian military contractor pleads guilty to high treason after copying top secret documents to send to CIA

388 people have already signed a petition protesting Safronov’s innocence. They include a number of high-profile figures from Moscow’s media world, including the editors-in-chief of Kommersant, Vedemosti, Novaya Gazeta and Meduza.

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