Supporters of Ivan Safronov, seen in the background on the left, believe that he is the victim of a political and unfair prison sentence.
A Russian court sentenced on Monday former Russian journalist Ivan Safronov, a specialist in military issues, to 22 years in prison for “high treason”, noted an AFP journalist present at the hearing.
< p class="e-p">Incarcerated since 2020, Mr. Safronov, 32, will have to serve his sentence in a harsh regime penal colony, according to the decision of the Moscow City Court, which intervenes in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.
Recognized defense expert, Ivan Safronov, handcuffed and seated in the glass cage reserved for detainees, welcomed this verdict with a smile, according to the AFP journalist.
His supporters in the courtroom chanted Vania [diminutive of Ivan], we love you, while others burst into tears.
The lawyers of the ex-journalist immediately announced their intention to appeal against this conviction.
Ivan Safronov is accused of having transmitted to a Russian political expert- German, also detained in Russia for high treason, information on Russian military operations in Syria as well as elements of arms deliveries from Moscow to Africa to Czech intelligence services.
M. Safronov strongly denies these accusations.
He had previously worked for two Russian national dailies, Vedomosti and Kommersant. Pushed to resign from the second medium in 2019, he became an adviser to the former director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, in May 2020.
His trial was denounced by his former colleagues as revenge for Putin's regime for his articles discussing embarrassing incidents involving the Russian military.