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World News

Russia to keep ex-journalist accused of treason behind bars: court

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court on Wednesday ordered former newspaper journalist Ivan Safronov to be kept in custody for another three months pending trial on charges of state treason that have sent a chill through Russia’s media landscape.

Safronov, who left journalism and began working at Russia’s space agency in May, was detained by security agents outside his flat on July 7 and accused of passing military secrets to the Czech Republic in 2017, a charge he denies.

He could face up to two decades in jail if found guilty at a trial that is likely to be held behind closed doors because of the sensitive nature of the charges.

Some Russian journalists and rights advocates fear he is the victim of a crackdown on the media and that the secrecy surrounding the case is being used to conceal bogus charges.

Safronov committed the alleged crime when working as a journalist covering military affairs for the Kommersant newspaper.

Reporting by Anton Kolodyazhnyy; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Maria Kiselyova and Mark Trevelyan

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