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Russia Extends Journalist Safronov's Pretrial Detention Until Early January

Ivan Safronov in court earlier this year
Ivan Safronov in court earlier this year

A Russian court has extended by three months the pretrial detention of Ivan Safronov, a prominent former journalist accused of high treason in a case widely considered to be politically motivated.

On October 4, the Moscow City Court ordered Safronov, who covered the defense industry for the newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti, be remanded in custody until January 7.

The 31-year-old suspect is a former adviser to the head of Russia's space agency Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.

He was arrested on July 7, 2020 on allegations that he had passed secret information to the Czech Republic in 2017 about Russian arms sales in the Middle East.

Safronov has repeatedly denied the accusations and his supporters have held pickets in Moscow and other cities demanding his release.

Human rights organizations have also issued statements demanding Safronov's release and expressing concerns over an intensifying crackdown on dissent in Russia.

One of Safronov's defenders, prominent rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov, fled to Georgia last month after Russian authorities launched a probe against him earlier this year, accusing him of disclosing data from the journalist's case.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax