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Jailed Russian Journalist Safronov Placed In Solitary Confinement

Ivan Safronov attends a court hearing in Moscow on June 30.
Ivan Safronov attends a court hearing in Moscow on June 30.

MOSCOW -- Ivan Safronov, a prominent former Russian journalist accused of high treason in a case widely considered to be politically motivated, has been placed in solitary confinement for allegedly violating the detention center's internal regulations.

A member of the Public Monitoring Commission in Moscow, Boris Klin, said on November 3 that Safronov was placed in the punitive isolation cell for three days for attaching a TV antenna to his cell's wall to improve the quality of a television set, which is not allowed.

According to the regulations, Safronov was also forced to change his clothes and wear a special prison robe while in solitary confinement. Safronov has complained that he is not allowed to have a sleeping mask to cover his eyes. In punitive isolation cells, the lights are never turned off, which some rights activists say is a form of torture.

Earlier this year, Safronov was banned from sending and receiving letters. More than a year ago he was banned from talking to his relatives by phone. In June, investigators offered to allow him to make a phone call to his mother in exchange for information. Safronov rejected the deal.

The 31-year-old, a former adviser to the head of Russian space agency Roskosmos, was arrested on July 7, 2020, on charges he passed secret information to the Czech Republic in 2017 about Russian arms sales in the Middle East.

Safronov's lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, said on November 2 that the defense team learned that Safronov had been additionally charged with passing classified information to a university in Switzerland and to Germany's intelligence service.

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

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

With reporting by Meduza and TASS

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