Ivan Safronov, ex-journalist specializing in military issues, sentenced to 22 years in prison for high treason in Russia – Le Monde

Former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, a specialist in military issues, was sentenced Monday, September 5 by a Russian court to twenty-two years in prison for high treason, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP) present at the hearing. A recognized defense expert, Ivan Safronov, handcuffed in the glass cage where the defendants are standing, welcomed this verdict with a smile, according to the AFP journalist. His supporters in the courtroom chanted “Vania [diminutif d’Ivan], we love you,” while other people burst into tears. The lawyers for the ex-journalist immediately announced their intention to appeal against this sentence. The prosecution maintains that Mr. Safronov “transmitted information to representatives of foreign intelligence services, knowing that it could be used by NATO member states against the security of Russia”. Ivan Safronov is accused of having transmitted to a Russian-German political expert, also detained in Russia for “high treason”, information on Russian military operations in Syria, and to the Czech intelligence services elements on arms deliveries from Moscow to Africa. Mr. Safronov strongly rejects these accusations. He had previously worked for two Russian national dailies, Vedomosti and Kommersant. Forced to resign from Kommersant in 2019, in May 2020 he became an adviser to the former director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. Incarcerated since 2020, Mr. Safronov, 32, will have to serve his sentence in a “penal colony of severe regime”, according to the decision of the Moscow City Court, which intervenes in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine. Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The strange arrest for high treason of a former Russian journalist “Revenge” of power Monday, Novaya Gazeta, symbol of press freedom, evoked a “revenge” of power against Ivan Safronov, for his articles regularly evoking the failures of the Russian army. That same day, Moscow revoked the license for the paper edition of this pillar of Russian investigative journalism, which had to suspend its distribution in March. The Basmanny court in Moscow on Monday invalidated the registration certificate of the paper version of Novaya Gazeta, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, was in 2021 co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. “Today they killed the newspaper. They stole thirty years of their lives from his employees. They have deprived its readers of the right to information”, denounced the editorial staff in a press release, assuring however that its “spirit of freedom” would continue to exist. This decision falls a few days after the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, who died last Tuesday at the age of 91, who was a co-founder of the newspaper. Mr. Muratov had also taken the lead on Saturday of his funeral procession. Read also Article reserved for our subscribers The Nobel Peace Prize Dmitry Muratov: “We journalists are the antidote against tyranny” The pressure against the independent media was already increasing in Russia, but the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine since February marked a sudden acceleration. Dozens of media websites have been blocked, and journalists have fled the country en masse. Find the articles of “Novaia Gazeta. Europe” published by “Le Monde” Le Monde with AFP