More than 80 Russian journalists, writers, historians and translators have one open letter in support of prominent defense attorney Ivan Pavlov, arrested on April 30 in Moscow and accused of disclosing classified information into the ongoing investigation of former journalist Ivan Safronov.
“The persecution of Ivan Pavlov and the confiscation of confidential files is an act of terrorism that is directed not only against Pavlov, but against the entire legal community and tries to drive Pavlov out of the Ivan Safronov case,” said the May 2 publication open letter said.
The signatories of the letter represent the Moscow PEN Club and the Free Speech Association.
Pavlov, 50, is one of Russia’s leading human rights lawyers and head of Team 29 Legal Aid Foundation. Law enforcement officers raided Team 29’s St. Petersburg office, the home of the group’s IT specialist, and Pavlov’s wife’s home.
Safronov is charged with treason and has been in custody since July 2020. Authorities say he gave the Czech Republic classified information about Russian arms sales in the Middle East, an allegation that Safronov denies.
Pavlov also represented the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which was founded by the imprisoned opposition politician Aleksei Navalny and which the Russian authorities want to declare as an “extremist” organization.
In a statement on April 30, Amnesty International described Pavlov as “one of the most courageous lawyers in the country” and said his detention was “a travesty of justice”.
Pavlov also defended the physicist Viktor Kudryavtsev, who was also charged with high treason. Kudryavtsev died of cancer on April 29, with his trial pending.
Pavlov told journalists that the 14 months Kudryavtsev had been in custody had “completely damaged his health.” The case is “an example of how the intelligence services are literally killing Russian science in general,” he added.