Ex-journalist loses latest appeal against treason sentence in Russia

Former Russian defense reporter Ivan Safronov lost his latest appeal on Wednesday against a 22-year jail sentence on charges of treason, a Reuters reporter at the Supreme Court said.

Safronov, a former reporter for the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers who later worked as an adviser to the head of Russia’s space agency, was arrested in 2020 and accused of disclosing classified information.

He was sentenced in September last year, in what his supporters called a draconian ruling that showed the absence of media freedom in Russia. He was accused of handing military secrets to the Czech Republic, a NATO member, but his defense team said the case was revenge for his journalistic reporting on Russian plans to sell fighter jets to Egypt.

Safronov was transferred in February to a high-security prison in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, and was not present for Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision in Moscow.

His lawyer told reporters it would now be for Safronov to decide if he wanted to attempt a further appeal to the presidium of the Supreme Court.

On Monday, Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza lost an appeal against a 25-year sentence for treason and spreading “false information” about Russia’s armed forces by speaking out against Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

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