Russia has arrested a former journalist on a charge of high treason for allegedly passing military secrets to a NATO government in what some are calling a definite attack on press freedoms, RFE/RL reports.
Ivan Safronov Jr., who since May has been working as an adviser to the principle of Russia’s state space agency Roskosmos, was detained and searched by armed officers of the FSB security service outside his Moscow apartment on July 7 before being taken to court, where that he entered a not guilty plea. The court ordered him held behind bars until September 6.
Prosecutors accuse him of passing information to the Czech Republic in 2017 concerning the sale of Russian arms to the Middle East and Africa, his lawyer Ivan Pavlov said.
Safronov was working as a journalist during the time covering problems related to the activities of Russia’s military industrial sector. Russia claims the United States was the final beneficiary of the info, Pavlov said.
Safronov could face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
His arrest — the latest in a series of law enforcement actions against Russian journalists and researchers — sparked outrage among former colleagues and prompted dozens to protest outside the FSB headquarters in Moscow.