Moscow Court Upholds Space Agency Aide's Pretrial Detention In High Treason Case

MOSCOW -- The Moscow City Court has upheld the two-month pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, currently an aide to the chief of Russia's Roskosmos space agency, who is charged with high treason.

One of Safronov's lawyers, Danila Nikiforov, was ordered at the July 16 hearing to leave the courtroom after he refused to sign documents obliging him not to reveal details of the case's materials.

Safronov's other lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, told MBKh Media news that the Federal Security Service for the first time provided him with case materials that contain what investigators called classified information.

Safronov, who has worked since May as an adviser to Roskosmos head Dmitry Rogozin, is 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 rejected 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.

The chairman of the Union of Journalists of Russia, Vladimir Solovyov, said on July 13 that his organization will "continue to closely monitor Safronov's case."

With reporting by MBKh Media