After two years of detention in Poland, the Spanish-Russian journalist accused of espionage for Russia must be released and allowed a defence in court

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the Polish judicial authorities to substantiate the evidence against Spanish journalist Pablo González arrested in February 2022 on the Ukrainian border. They have to release him as he awaits his trial which must be organised quickly.

Today, 28 February, marks two years since Spanish-Russian reporter Pablo González was placed in custody in Radom prison in central Poland. The journalist accused of spying for Russia will stay in prison for at least another three months, due to the eight consecutive prolongation of his pre-trial detention two weeks ago by the Lublin Court of Appeal. The correspondent of the newspaper Público and the channel La Sexta was arrested four days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the border town of Przemyśl, while covering the exodus of Ukrainian war refugees to Poland. The Polish authorities have claimed that González was – under the cover of a journalist – working as a spy for Russia's military intelligence (GRU).

“In a European Union (EU) country, it is highly unusual to keep a journalist in detention for two years without a trial and on secret charges. We urge the Polish judicial authorities to release Pablo González before he can defend himself in court which must be convened as soon as possible. While we respect the principle of secrecy of investigation, we call on the prosecutor’s office to guarantee – in line with the EU standards – a minimum transparency about the evidence held against the journalist imprisoned for such a long time.

Pavol Szalai
Head of RSF’s EU-Balkans Desk

Since Pablo González was publicly accused of espionage, neither the judge in charge of the case, nor the prosecutor's office, nor any other Polish authority disclosed the evidence held against him. In fact, the defence did not have access to the file, either. The only new information about the case, held in opacity by the Polish justice, has been published in the past year by the independent Russian media Agentstvo. According to the outlet, Pablo González spied on Zhanna Nemtsova, the daughter of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, murdered in Moscow in 2015. The media also claims that González travelled with a member of the GRU in 2017 from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg and back. However, the revelations have not been confirmed by an official source.

First imprisoned in Przemyśl and then in Radom, Pablo González has been held in particularly harsh conditions and without sufficient contact with his family, a regime criticised by RSF on multiple occasions

Poland is ranked 57th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.

47/ 180
Score : 69.17
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