Supporters detained after the Russians accused the former reporter of treason

Supporters detained after the Russians accused the former reporter of treason


Russia on Monday charged a former reporter with treason for allegedly crossing state secrets in the Czech Republic.


Investigators Ivan Safronov, a former reporter for the Deluge Commissar and Vandonsty, have been charged with treason, for which he could go behind bars for 20 years, lawyer Ivan Pavlov told AFP.

"This is a baseless allegation. He will not plead guilty," Pavlov said.

Safronov, a 30-year-old former reporter specializing in defense and space, recently joined the National Space Agency as an adviser to its chief Dmitry Rogozin.

The FSB security service has been detaining him since last week on suspicion of leaking state secrets to Czech intelligence.

He was detained for two months in Lefotov prison in Moscow.

The AFP journalist was seen detaining at least four people outside the jail on Monday as his former colleagues formed a series of pickets in support of him.

OVD-Info, a website monitoring the protests, said police had arrested 11 people who were being taken to police stations.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

Unusually, the protesters included journalists from the Kremlin-backed television channel RT, OVD-Info, and state media.

Glib Cherkasov, the former deputy editor of Komibasant, who worked with Safronov from 2010 to 2019, told AFP that Safronov was "a responsible and professional person, a trusted comrade and one of the best journalists I have ever worked with." Is ".

"I do not fully believe the allegations he is now facing," Cherkasov said, "reiterating his work as a journalist."

Tatiana Felzenhuir, the presenter of the Moscow radio station Echo, said she had come forward to support Safronov and hoped that high-level protests would have an impact when faced with growing pressure from journalists.

“The charges are getting tougher and the number of media you can work with is rapidly declining,” she said.

In another unusual move, several journalists covering President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin press pool also posted a video in support of Safronov.

The Safronov case did not receive universal support from Kremlin critics, as prominent opposition politician Alexei Navalny said in a video blog on Friday that he did not want to defend Safronov because he held a high position in a state agency before he was arrested.

He called Safronov "a man without ethical principles" to agree to work for the space agency.

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