Russia jails Group-IB cofounder for treason

Group-IB cofounder Ilya Sachkov has been jailed for 14 years by a Moscow court for treason, charges which the cybersecurity firm says follow an “unreasonably rushed trial that was held entirely behind closed doors.”

The firm released a statement on July 26th saying the Kremlin had founded Sachkov guilty — he denied the charges — after holding him in pre-trial detention for nearly two years.

The trial itself lasted just a few weeks, according to Singapore-headquartered Group-IB, which said proceedings against Sachkov only began on July 6th.

“During his detainment, he was denied the right to communicate — no calls, no letters — with the outside world for the first few months, he was deprived of any visits from family and friends,” said Group-IB.

“Ultimately, Ilya has been denied a chance for an impartial trial. All the materials of the case are kept classified, and all hearings were held in complete secrecy with no public scrutiny. As a result, we might never know the pretext for his conviction.”

Ilya's followers
Illya's supporters at court in Moscow

Since its invasion of Ukraine last February, Russia has passed laws that punish spreading what it deems “fake” information about the war with up to 15 years imprisonment. Sachkov had been accused of a different crime — passing information to foreign spies — to which he had pleaded not guilty.

On April 20th, Group-IB finally pulled the plug on its business in the pariah superstate, which has seen an exodus of foreign companies since its attack on Ukraine drew widespread condemnation from other countries.

Group-IB said it was “dismayed and disheartened” by what it described as “brutal and unfair punishment” of its cofounder, who also apparently ruffled feathers in the Kremlin with his previous outspoken criticism of its tolerance for cybercriminals on Russian soil.

“Cutting Ilya off from the outside world only serves to undermine the strength and stability of the global cybersecurity ecosystem,” it added.

“As the world finds itself enveloped in intense cyber warfare, as cybercrime in all its forms evolves and becomes more organized and efficient, an individual who has consistently and convincingly advocated for responsible behavior in the digital space and one who has devoted his entire life to fighting against digital crime is being sent to jail.”

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