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Moscow Court Rules Extension Of Safronov's Pretrial Detention Is Legal

Ivan Safronov attends his court hearing in Moscow on May 25.

The Moscow City Court has ruled that an extension to July 7 of the pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, who is accused of treason, is legal.

Safronov's lawyers had challenged the extension in court, but judges on May 25 rejected the defense's complaint.

The 30-year-old Safronov, who has worked since May last year as an adviser to the head of Russia's space agency Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, is a prominent journalist who covered the military-industrial complex for the newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti.

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

Safronov has rejected the accusations and many of his supporters have held pickets in Moscow and other cities demanding his release.

He and his defense have argued that investigators did not communicate to Safronov when and to whom he had allegedly passed the classified information or what it contained. All case materials are classified.

One of Safronov's defenders, lawyer Ivan Pavlov, became a suspect this spring in a separate criminal case on the disclosure of data from the journalist's case.

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