06:58 GMT22 October 2020
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    PRAGUE (Sputnik) -The Czech Foreign Ministry has no comments about the case of Ivan Safronov, an adviser to the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, suspected of handing over defence secrets to a Czech intelligence service, Spokeswoman Zuzana Stichova said.

    "We have no comment on this. Your questions must be referred to the Czech special services," Stichova said.

    Earlier in the day, the Czech Interior Ministry and the Czech Defence Ministry also refused to comment on the matter.

    According to Safronov's lawyer, the former journalist is suspected of links to the Czech special services. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the detention appears to be unrelated to Safronov's work as a journalist. Roscosmos said the detention was not linked to Safronov's work for the space agency.

    OSCE Hopes Arrest of Safronov Unrelated to Journalistic work

    The OSCE representative on freedom of the media expressed hope on Wednesday that the arrest of Russian space agency official Ivan Safronov has no connection with his previous work as a journalist.

    ​On Tuesday, a Moscow court ordered two months in pre-trial detention for Safronov, an adviser to the Roscosmos chief. According to Safronov's lawyer, investigators accuse his client, who denies the high treason claims against him, of passing information regarding Russia's defence cooperation with Africa and Russia's military activities in the Middle East to Czech special services. The US is believed to have been the ultimate recipient of the secret data.

    The defence has appealed the two-month arrest of Ivan Safronov, lawyer Evgeny Smirnov said on Wednesday.

    "Lawyer Ivan Pavlov and I appealed the decision of Moscow's Lefortovo Court today," Smirnov said.
    treason, espionage, Czech Republic, Russia
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