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Russian Journalist's Pretrial Detention Extended In Treason Case

Ivan Safronov appears in court in Moscow on March 2.
Ivan Safronov appears in court in Moscow on March 2.

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has extended the pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, an accusation he has rejected outright.

The Lefortovo district court on March 2 ruled that Safronov must be held until at least May 7. The hearing was held behind closed doors, as the case is classified.

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

He was arrested on July 7 amid 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 many of 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 TASS and Interfax

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