New York, August 2, 2023 — In response to the Russian Supreme Court decision on Wednesday to uphold the 22-year prison sentence of journalist Ivan Safronov, who was convicted of treason last year, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:
“The Russian Supreme Court’s refusal to overturn Ivan Safronov’s 22-year prison sentence, while hardly surprising, is nonetheless appalling,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “Russian authorities should drop all charges against Safronov, release him immediately, and stop jailing journalists in connection to their work.”
Authorities accused Safronov, who was arrested in July 2020, of sharing classified information with Czech intelligence. Media reported that the information he had allegedly shared was publicly available, and that his prosecution stemmed from his 2019 reporting on Russia’s sale of fighter jets to Egypt. Safronov, a former correspondent for newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti, has denied the charges. In December 2022, a Moscow court upheld his sentence on appeal. Safronov has now exhausted all possibilities to contest his sentence in Russia, media reported.
In February 2023, he was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Siberia to serve his sentence, media reported. Safronov’s fiancé Ksenia Mironova told CPJ in an email that today’s Supreme Court ruling was expected, “knowing the Russian judiciary.” Russia held at least 19 journalists in prison when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census on December 1, 2022.