In Russia, heavy verdict for a journalist who disturbs the FSB

In Russia, heavy verdict for a journalist who disturbs the FSB

In Russia, heavy verdict for a journalist who disturbs the FSB

A screenshot shows Ivan Safronov (2nd left) at the Moscow City Court, September 5, 2022.

On Monday 5 September, the Russian government imposed an extremely heavy and unprecedented sentence on journalist Ivan Safronov, accused of high treason by the FSB, the security services. Sentenced to twenty-two years of strict penal colony, followed by two years of limited freedom, for having transmitted seven analytical articles containing – according to the accusation – state secrets to the Czech journalist Martin Larysh and to the German political analyst Dmitry Voronin.

The judge read only the introduction and the verdict, without saying a word on the subject. All hearings in the trial took place behind closed doors under the pretext that state secrets were included in the indictment. Dozens of Ivan Safronov’s colleagues, relatives and friends were present in the classroom to support him. When the verdict was announced, they pronounced the word ” freedom “ and applauded the condemned. The latter, standing in his glass cage, with tired eyes, replied: ” I love you all. “

“Absurd” accusations.

Aged 32, two of whom have already spent in pre-trial detention, this journalist known for his experience in the defense industry has denied any guilt. Former newspaper contributor Kommersant And Vedomosti he focused his defense on demonstrating that only one of the articles contained confidential information, elements made public less than two months after their transmission. The lawyers of Mr. Safronov immediately filed an appeal.

In his concluding discussion a few days ago, Mr. Safronov described the allegations against him as“absurd”stressing that he never had access to any confidential documents and stressing that the investigators never produced any testimony in support of the espionage allegations.

The investigative site Proek published, on August 29, an investigation that reveals how the accusation against Safronov has been mended with a white thread. Funny example from the prosecution file: one of the extras in the case, Dmitri Voronin, cooked by an FSB investigator, ended up admitting that he has a rigged supervisor from scratch, whom he says he knows by the wartime name of “Wichser. “, German word meaning” wanker “.

“Ivan Safronov’s punishment is demonstrably cruel and brutal, reflecting the new Russian reality”, Pavel Tchikov, Russian lawyer

The absurdity of the verdict and, besides that, of the Russian judicial system is summed up by the wife of Ivan Safronov, Ksenia Mironova, in a tweet. “On the floor below the apartment where we lived with Safronov, lived the alcoholic Micha. Two years ago, Micha raped a friend with a bottle and the latter died, but Micha did not go to jail. He went out the window this year and killed his drinking buddy. It took five years. “ “I’ve never seen a sentence for treason exceed twenty years”Russian lawyer Pavel Tchikov, who specializes in defending individuals accused of espionage, said on his Telegram channel. “The sentence exceeds [les vingt ans] Why [Safronov] it is charged in two cases and the penalties are cumulative. Sentences in espionage cases are always heavy, but in recent years I have seen the penalties lengthen. (…) Ivan Safronov’s punishment is blatantly cruel and brutal, reflecting the new Russian reality. “

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