03 August 2020
Ivan Safronov, former journalist of Kommersant who is charged with state treason, has rejected a plea deal. He was asked to reveal his sources of information. According to investigators, while working for Kommersant, Safrovon passed state secrets to Czech intelligence. At the same time the FSB insists that the case is not related to Safronov’s journalistic work. Safronov believes the opposite and denies any guilt.
On July 27, Mikhail Fedotov, former chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, also spoke about Safronov’s case. He said that security services, media and civil rights activists must discuss the case at a press conference. As to Fedotov, this format would help to answer some of public questions, since the FSB is the only authority to know what information on the case may be revealed. But, according to Roman Belanov, a lawyer with Khrenov&Partners, this is unlikely to happen for the same reasons why Safronov was offered a plea deal earlier.
“For officers who run a pre-trial investigation it is definitely better for Safronov to be convicted. And since he was offered a plea deal – and that means a simplified procedure for investigation – I am doubtful that the investigation has enough evidence of his guilt. It makes sense to organize a press conference, because there is strong public belief that reporters are being harassed for their journalistic work. Therefore, if the FSB runs an event like that, they could prove that we have a real crime committed here, and it is not related to his journalistic work. I understand that it would not be easy, because in these circumstances any officer or officers to attend this presser would be literally grilled by the press. I think that the FSB people will not go for that and start acting defensively instead. Usually they agree to things like that only if they are 100% sure that they are right and the message will get out there”.
The full material may be viewed here (in Russian).