Charged with treason: Russian ex-journalist sentenced to 22 years in prison

Charged with high treason
Former Russian journalist sentenced to 22 years in prison

Former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov is on trial for treason. The 32-year-old refused to plead guilty to receive a lighter sentence. He was eventually sentenced to 22 years in a penal camp. This result is shocking.

A Moscow court has sentenced former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov to 22 years in prison for treason in a controversial espionage trial. The verdict was handed down in the Moscow City Court. The defense therefore declared an objection. The verdict sent shockwaves among journalists and human rights activists.

Prosecutors sought a 24-year sentence because Safronov turned down an offer to plead guilty to a lighter sentence of 12 years in prison. The Kremlin had previously announced that the charges against Safronov were serious. According to investigators, the 32-year-old allegedly passed classified information to foreign intelligence services about arms deals and activities of the Russian armed forces in Africa and the Middle East.

At the start of the trial Safrono’s lawyer rejected the allegations and said the journalist had only used publicly available evidence. Safronov was arrested two years ago and has been in custody ever since. The process is closed to the public. The journalist wrote on military and security issues for “Kommersant” and “Vedomosti” newspapers. Before his arrest, he worked for the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The European Union had earlier demanded that the charges against the journalist be dropped and he be released. “The regime’s systematic attack on an independent press deprives citizens of their right to factual information, including on Russia’s war in Ukraine,” said a spokesman for the EU’s foreign affairs ministry.

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