Team 29: !!Release Ivan Safronov!

11 July 2020

Release Ivan Safronov!

Hi! This is Elya Pakhomova, Team 29’s Media Director and Press Secretary.

It goes without saying what the main news is this week. The arrest of the journalist Ivan Safronov came as a real shock. “Dear journalists, The wave of spy mania has now made it to your door. The espionage charge levelled against Ivan Safronov is the first case in which a journalist has been charged under this article in almost 20 years.  Before this, it was the journalist Grigory Pasko, whom I defended, who was convicted of treason in 2001. A lot depends on how you react to this blow, in particular, whether the espionage charges against journalists become a trend in today’s Russia, as is now the case with academics. How you respond now, as you did in the case of Ivan Golunov, will determine the fate of not just your colleague, but journalism in Russia as a whole. I trust that lawyers are aware of this and will get the job done,” Ivan Pavlov, lawyer and head of Team 29, wrote of the arrest on Facebook.  It was only a matter of hours before Team 29 lawyers Ivan Pavlov and Evgeny Smirnov joined Ivan Safronov’s case, and now they are fighting for justice on his behalf.

It so happened that Ivan’s arrest took place on the very day that Team 29 launched a petition in support of Prof. Valery Mit’ko, who was also recently charged with treason by espionage. We released a short film to draw attention to the petition. We’d be grateful if you’d help by sharing it and adding your name to the petition itself!  Tomorrow, 12 June, Valery Bronislavovich Mit’ko will turn 79. Let the addition of your name on the petition for his release and a fair hearing of his case be a birthday present for him!

Also this week, we published an interview with Ernst Cherny, who told Team 29 about how criminal cases involving treason are being fabricated against academics.

Listen up! We are planning to make a short film in support of Ivan Safronov and would ask anyone who’s interested to record a brief video message (you could just hold your phone horizontally) with some words of support, how you came to know Ivan, or your demands for a fair hearing of his case.  Please send links to the files, uploaded to a disk or the cloud, to  It would be great if, at the end of the message, everyone could say, “Release Ivan Safronov!” and if you could manage it by Monday.

Many thanks for your support,


Translated by Lindsay Munford

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