Leading Russian media demanded a transparent investigation of the Safronov case

Journalist accused of high treason

Russian publications Kommersant, Vedomosti, Meduza, RBC, Proekt, Mediazona, The Bell, the Russian version of Forbes magazine, Bumaga, the organizing committee of the journalism award “Editorial Board” came out with editorial materials in support of journalist Ivan Safronov Jr.and with the requirement of a transparent investigation of his case.
The former correspondent of Kommersant and Vedomosti collaborated with Forbes, and since May he worked as an adviser to the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin. The day before, the Lefortovo court in Moscow arrested him for two months on suspicion of high treason. The FSB accuses the journalist of collaborating with the Czech Foreign Intelligence Service – the Office for External Relations and Information.
According to the investigation, the journalist was recruited in 2012, and in 2017 he received the task to collect information about the military-technical cooperation of the Russian Federation with African countries and the actions of the Russian military in the Middle East and carried it out..
Safronov does not admit his guilt. His lawyer says he saw no evidence of the journalist’s guilt in the case. According to the Kommersant newspaper, Safronov was wiretapped before being detained. During the day of the existence of the criminal case, the special service collected seven volumes of materials. The investigation team includes investigators conducting cases of Karina Tsurkan, a former member of the Inter RAO board, suspected of espionage, and Viktor Kudryavtsev, a former employee of the Center for Heat Transfer and Aerogasdynamics of the Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, both cases were criticized by human rights activists..
In the editorial texts, the publications emphasize that the case against Safronov is related exclusively to his journalistic work. “It is simply impossible to imagine Ivan, the officer’s son, as a state traitor,” the statement of Vedomosti says. The text of Meduza recalls that the trial of Svetlana Prokopyeva, a journalist with Radio Liberty, who was charged with justifying terrorism, was completed in Pskov just the day before..

Leading Russian media demanded a transparent investigation of the Safronov case

The publications also draw parallels with the Ivan Golunov case. RBC reminds that the criteria for classifying information as secret are vague and it may turn out to be “anything you want.” The editorial board of the “Project” believes that the Russian authorities consider journalistic work to be a deliberately suspicious activity, not trusting either journalists or citizens in general.
“After the case of journalist Ivan Golunov, there are serious reasons to believe that the Russian law enforcement system can again be used to settle accounts with an independent journalist,” Forbes said. “Given the resonance and possible connection between Safronov’s detention and the fulfillment of his professional duties as a journalist, we are confident that this case should be given maximum publicity and publicity,” reminds The Bell.
“It is especially difficult for people accused of high treason to achieve a fair investigation and a public trial: the investigation is reluctant to admit lawyers, court sessions are often completely classified,” writes Kommersant. “As a result, the public is forced to rely only on the words of the special services.”.

Leading Russian media demanded a transparent investigation of the Safronov case

“The FSB and other security forces are trying to silence us. This will not happen, ”concludes Mediazona.
According to the imputed article, the journalist faces up to 20 years in prison. The day before, the trial on the measure of restraint against the journalist was held behind closed doors. A non-disclosure agreement was taken from a witness in the case – journalist Taisiya Bekbulatova. And they tried to take from her lawyer and from one of Safronov’s lawyers – Ivan Pavlov. In his opinion, the FSB will demand a nondisclosure agreement from the entire circle of Ivan Safronov so that they do not comment on the case..

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Vedomosti and Meduza have compiled a selection of Safronov’s best articles. The journalist covered the military-industrial complex and wrote dozens of high-profile texts. In July 2018, the editor-in-chief of Kommersant, Sergei Yakovlev, left his post a few days after the newspaper published Safronov’s article about secretly conferring the title of Hero of Russia on the first deputy head of the administration, Sergei Kiriyenko. The journalist himself was fired from the newspaper after the publication of an article about the possible resignation of the chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko.
An FSB source for Open Media said that Safronov had been interrogated several times by the FSB over the past year. Including – because of the deleted after the publication of the text of “Kommersant” on the contract for the supply of Su-35 fighters to Egypt. In June 2019, TASS reported on an administrative case initiated against Kommersant, presumably due to Safronov’s note. The newspaper was planned to be attracted for disclosing information constituting a state secret.

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