World

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Russian Space Official Ivan Safronov was arrested Tuesday on charges of treason, specifically on accusations of passing military secrets to a NATO member country

PHOTO CREDITS: REUTERS/EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA 

According to Deutsche Welle, Russian Space Official Ivan Safronov was arrested Tuesday on charges of treason, specifically on accusations of passing military secrets to a NATO member country. Prior to his court appearance, Safronov pleaded “not guilty” to the charges (BBC). The trial is expected to be held behind closed doors, due to the nature of the information allegedly revealed (ABC). ~

Safronov currently works for Roscosmos – the Russian space agency – after joining this May as a policy advisor to Dmitry Rogozin, the agency’s head (DW). Prior to his employment at the agency, Safronov was a journalist, specializing in military and security topics. The space official was fired from one of his previous employers, Kommersant, after writing an article claiming that the speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house was about to step down, which sparked “official anger” (ABC). After his leaving, the Federal Security Service (FSB) opened an inquiry related to Safronov’s article about a contract between Russia and Egypt for the delivery of Su-35 fighter jets, and former Safronov employer Kommersant removed the article from their site and the investigation was closed. ~

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, states that the treason allegations are unrelated to his prior journalistic activity as far as they are aware. However, some American and international journalists believe that the case is a crackdown on journalistic rights, noting that journalists, including Safronov’s father, have been detained or died mysteriously after publishing articles related to the Russian government’s activities (BBC). Many journalists are holding one-man protests against the arrest of Safronov, some resulting in arrest (DW). According to BBC, Safronov’s current employer Roscosmos corroborates this idea, stating that Safronov’s arrest is unrelated to his current position. Roscosmos is also working on an investigation, but is “fully cooperating with investigative authorities” (DW). ~

Article: Daniel England

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