“Safronov was found guilty of treason under Article 275 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” the judge announced and continued: “Safronov is sentenced to 22 years in the most rigorous prison and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about 200,000 crowns)”.
A TASS reporter wrote that it is the harshest verdict that Russian courts have handed down for the crime of treason in recent years.
According to a TASS reporter, when asked by the judge whether the verdict was clear to him, Safronov replied that he understood it. About five dozen people who came to support the defendant met the verdict with shouts: “Freedom!”, “Hold on!”. Safronov then responded by saying: “I love you!”.
The defense will appeal the verdict. “The defense appeals against the verdict, we insist on Safronov’s innocence,” said Dmitry Katchey, the convict’s lawyer.
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.
The Secret Service claims that the journalist was recruited by Czech intelligence in 2012. According to the FSB, he passed on secret information about the supply of Russian weapons to the post-Soviet states, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, and this information could be used by NATO states against Russia’s security.