Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Ex-Journalist Charged With Treason Rejects Deal Requiring Him to Reveal Sources

Ivan Safronov. Sofiya Sandurskaya / Moskva News Agency

Ivan Safronov, a journalist-turned-space adviser arrested on treason charges, has turned down a plea deal that would have required him to disclose his journalistic sources, his lawyer told Interfax on Tuesday.

Safronov, who was a well-respected reporter for 10 years before becoming media adviser to the head of Russia’s state space agency Roscosmos, was charged with treason this month in a case his supporters say lacks evidence. As a journalist, he wrote stories about Russia’s defense and space sectors.

Investigators “casually” told Safronov that a plea bargain in which he shares his sources would be his “best way out,” his lawyer Ivan Pavlov told Interfax.

Safronov "did not even discuss it," Interfax cited Pavlov as saying.

Pavlov told the MBKh Media news website that the plea deal offer was a “Freudian slip” by investigators.

“The investigation categorically denies any connection between the charges and Ivan's journalistic activities, but here it turns out that the sources of his information are of interest,” he said.

Safronov faces up to 20 years in prison on the state treason charges. His supporters claim that the charges were a response to his reporting, which ruffled feathers among the ruling elite. 

Earlier on Tuesday, a prison watchdog said Safronov had been placed in an isolated cell after showing potential coronavirus symptoms.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more