Person of the Week: Lawyer Ivan Pavlov arrested

Week-ending 30 April 2021

This week, on Friday 30 April 2021, FSB officers detained Ivan Pavlov, a prominent human rights lawyer currently defending the journalist Ivan Safronov and the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Aleksei Navalny. Officers searched the Moscow hotel room where he was staying, his home in St. Petersburg and the offices of the organisation he leads, Team 29. Front Line Defenders reported that Pavlov has been charged with  “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” in relation to his legal representation of former journalist Ivan Safronov who is accused of treason. Amnesty International said the Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ivan Pavlov from arbitrary detention. Human Rights Watch described Pavlov’s arrest in terms of the Russian authorities ‘crossing another Rubicon.’


Amnesty International, 30 April 2021: Responding to news that Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers have detained Ivan Pavlov, a human rights lawyer defending the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Aleksei Navalny, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “Lawyers are the last line of defence against the government’s growing crackdown on human rights, and now the authorities are going after one of the country’s most courageous lawyers. They accused him of disclosing information about cases they are arbitrarily treating as a state secret. This is a travesty of justice. The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ivan Pavlov from arbitrary detention.“Targeting lawyers who defend victims of politically motivated prosecutions has become a dangerous trend in Russia, especially in the North Caucasus. Rarely has it being done in such a brazen manner, with open FSB involvement, as with Ivan Pavlov. If the international community was waiting for a signal to sound the alarm, then that time has come. Ivan Pavlov and his brave Team 29 have helped countless people. Now they themselves need our solidarity and support.” “Lawyers should never be arrested simply for peacefully exercising their human rights and discharging their professional duties. Russian authorities must end the crackdown on the legal professsion, and respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone.” 

Front Line Defenders, 30 April 2021: On 30 April 2021, the human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov’s hotel room in Moscow was searched by Federal Security Service (FSB) officers, he was detained by the officers and interrogated by the Investigative Committee. His flat, summer house, the office of his organisation Team 29 and one of the organization’s staff members were also searched. Later on the same day, the Basmanny District Court issued restriction measures against Ivan Pavlov, forbidding him to use any form of communication, including the internet, for any purpose, except for calling the emergency services or contacting the investigator for the case, or his relatives. The human rights lawyer has been charged with  “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” in relation to his legal representation of former journalist Ivan Safronov who is accused of high treason.

Human Rights Watch, 30 April 2021: Russian authorities have been on a rampage of repression in recent months, imprisoning a top political opposition figure, arresting record numbers of protesters, and sustaining a month of heightened persecution of independent media. This morning they crossed another Rubicon when Federal Security Service (FSB) agents in Moscow apprehended prominent human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov. In St. Petersburg, law enforcement officers searched Pavlov’s home and the office of Team 29, a group of human rights lawyers he leads. They also searched his summer cottage and broke down the door at the home of another Team 29 staffer.

RFE/RL, 30 April 2021: Ivan Pavlov, one of Russia’s top human rights lawyers who is representing jailed Kremlin-critic Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), has been detained for allegedly disclosing classified information relating to an ongoing investigation. The 50-year-old Pavlov told reporters that he was briefly detained early on April 30 by Federal Security Service (FSB) agents while his hotel room in Moscow was searched. “I was interrogated as a suspect,” he said before he was brought back in for further questioning with Russia’s Investigative Committee. According to the press service from a Moscow court, the authorities are seeking to bar Pavlov from using the Internet and communicating with witnesses in his criminal case. Pavlov has made a name for himself in Russia for taking on often politically sensitive cases ranging from treason to espionage.

The Moscow Times, 30 April 2021: One of Russia’s leading defense lawyers has been detained on criminal charges of disclosing details of an investigation hours before he was due in court to represent a prominent former journalist accused of treason, his colleagues said early Friday. “Ivan Pavlov, the leader of Team 29, was arrested on April 30 in Moscow after a search in his hotel room,” the organization said on its website.  Team 29 describes itself as an association of lawyers and journalists that stands for Russian citizens’ rights to access and distribute information.  “Mr. Pavlov was getting ready for a 9 a.m. court hearing for his defendant, journalist Ivan Safronov, accused of treason,” Team 29 said in the statement. The Moscow court extended Safronov’s pre-trial detention later Friday. Pavlov told the independent Dozhd broadcaster that investigators suspect him of sharing information from Safronov’s treason case. Safronov faces up to 20 years in prison on suspicion of passing state secrets to the Czech Republic as a defense reporter in 2017.

RFE/RL, 30 April 2021: A court in Moscow has extended the pretrial detention of former journalist Ivan Safronov, who is charged with high treason, an accusation he and his supporters have rejected. The Lefortovo district court on April 30 ruled that Safronov can be held at least until July 7. The hearing was held behind closed doors as the case has been designated as classified. The 30-year-old Safronov, who has worked since May 2020 as an adviser to Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roskosmos, was previously a prominent journalist who covered the military-industrial complex for the newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti.

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