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5 Sep, 2022 13:19

Russian ex-journalist Safronov sentenced to 22 years for treason

Ivan Safronov, who also served as an adviser to the Russian Space Agency, was accused of leaking state secrets
Russian ex-journalist Safronov sentenced to 22 years for treason

Ivan Safronov, a former journalist who worked as an advisor to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has been sentenced to 22 years in jail for state treason.

The Moscow City Court found him guilty on Monday and the sentence was handed down during the same session. The trial was mostly held behind closed doors.

Safronov worked for the Russian newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti before becoming an adviser to the head of Roscosmos. He was arrested in July 2020 and charged with two counts of state treason for cooperation with the intelligence agencies of Germany and the Czech Republic.

Prosecutors alleged that he was recruited as an intel asset on behalf of the US. The leaked materials in question detailed Russian ties in military and space affairs with nations in Africa and the Middle East, according to media reports.

Safronov denied any wrongdoing. His defense claimed that he rejected an earlier plea deal, which would have seen him receive a 12-year sentence. They said they will appeal the latest court ruling.

Safronov has also been fined 500,000 rubles ($8,300).

The former journalist is expected to serve his term in a high security prison. The time he has already spent in pre-trial custody will be deducted from his sentence. After serving roughly 14 years he will be eligible to apply for parole. The ruling is one of the harshest in a treason trial in Russia’s modern history.