Russian independent media and journalists have published a statement demanding the release of Ivan Safronov, who is charged with treason. He is facing up to 24 years in prison for his professional activity. The 7x7 Online Newspaper publishes the whole statement.
We demand releasing Ivan Safronov
On August 30, 2022, the prosecutor's office demanded that Ivan Safronov, a former journalist of Kommersant and Vedomosti, who covered the topics of the defense industry and space, be sentenced to 24 years in a maximum-security colony on charges of "treason".
This is an intimidating sentence, but the FSB has not provided any evidence of the journalist's guilt. Moreover, on August 29, the Project Media Outlet published an investigation in which it compared the facts from the indictment, which the FSB calls top-secret information, with data in open sources. An informal search on the Internet showed that the accusations against Ivan Safronov did not stand up to scrutiny: the information used at the time of writing the materials was in the public domain, where everyone could see it.
In addition, the prosecution has not proved in any way that the journalist had access to classified information and even more so gave it to any intelligence. There is also no evidence in the case that he was paid by foreign intelligence services.
The entire indictment is a description of Ivan Safronov's active and high-quality work as a journalist - and the illegal activities of the FSB, which established surveillance of him back in 2014.
The Project’s publication would normally cause a scandal and entail the complete acquittal of the journalist and the punishment of those who illegally persecute him. However, in our reality, the court is quietly getting ready to sentence an innocent man, and there is almost no hope that he will be acquitted. This is the statistics of Russian courts.
During the investigation, Ivan Safronov and his lawyers were under the strongest pressure: he spent two years in the Lefortovo Detention Center without the opportunity to see his relatives or even call his mother; two of his lawyers, Ivan Pavlov and Evgeny Smirnov, were forced to leave the country because of threats, another one, Dmitry Talantov, is in jail.
Despite this, Ivan Safronov did not make a deal with his conscience and did not confess to untruths, although the FSB repeatedly suggested that he admit his guilt and disclose his journalistic sources in exchange for a reduction in his sentence. The demand to sentence Safronov to an incredible term of 24 years is revenge, including for the firmness of the journalist's spirit and refusal to cooperate.
We find it obvious that the reason for Ivan Safronov’s persecution is not the "treason", which is not proven by anything, but his journalistic work and materials that he published without regard to the opinion of the Ministry of Defense and the Russian authorities.
- Ivan Safronov’s immediate release from custody;
- retrial and appending all the materials, provided by the defense, to the case;
- challenging the court, which has demonstrated its preconception and bias;
- investigations against officials who committed violations during the inquiry.
We call on journalists and concerned people to demand that the authorities fulfill these requirements. Journalism is not a crime. Ivan Safronov should be acquitted.