WITHoud in Moscow on Monday sent Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, who was indicted due to alleged cooperation with Czech intelligence, to a prison with increased security for 22 years. This was reported by the TASS agency, according to which it is the strictest verdict given in Russia for the crime of treason in recent years. The defense will appeal the verdict.
Safronov has denied any guilt from the beginning. He emphasizes that he was only engaged in journalism and did not have access to state secrets. The accusation accuses the Secret Service of trying to produce spies when the real ones are hard to catch.
In addition to the 22-year sentence that Safronov is to serve in a penal colony with a strict regime, the court imposed a fine of 500,000 rubles (about 204,000 crowns) on the former adviser to the Russian space agency Roskosmos and a correspondent for the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers.
The defense of the 32-year-old Safronov told Russian agencies that he would appeal the verdict.
According to the Interfax news agency, Safronov addressed the public after the verdict and shouted: “I love you!” in the courtroom. The journalists, relatives and friends present rewarded Safronov with applause.
Safronov was arrested in July 2020 by the Russian FSB secret service and charged with treason. The Secret Service claims that the journalist was recruited by Czech intelligence in 2012. According to the FSB, Safronov passed on secret information about the supply of Russian weapons to post-Soviet states, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, and this information could be used by NATO states against Russia’s security.