LETTER FROM MADRID
Journalist Pablo Gonzalez will spend at least another two months in prison. At the end of May, his pre-trial detention was extended for the fifth time since he was arrested on February 28, 2022, 13 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, in the Polish town of Przemysl.
Imprisoned for fifteen months and accused of espionage, this massive man with dual Spanish and Russian nationality, aged 41, with a shaved head and bushy eyebrows, is still waiting in the Polish prison of Radom, 100 kilometers from Warsaw, that a date be set for his eventual trial. And asks, in the meantime, to be able to at least speak with his three children, aged 8 at 15 ans.
Placed in solitary confinement until recently, classified as a “dangerous prisoner” and locked up in a cell twenty-three hours a day, according to his family, Pablo Gonzalez was only able to receive one visit from his wife, last November. He can only talk to his lawyers, who complain that they have not yet been formally informed of the charges against their client and that they have not had access to the documents seized and other evidence available to the courts. Polish. Spy working for Russian military intelligence (GRU) or reckless freelance journalist? In Spain, the case, disturbing in many respects, remains a mystery.
It all starts on February 6, 2022, two weeks before the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine. That day, in front of a military checkpoint in the town of Avdiïvka (Donetsk oblast), Pablo Gonzalez was about to make a live broadcast for the Spanish television channel La Sexta when Ukrainian soldiers approached him and by Juan Teixeira, a photographer colleague and friend with whom he once again travels the country in search of stories to tell. “They asked us for our papers and gave them back to us quickly. But about two hours later, the Ukrainian security services of the SBU called him on his mobile and summoned him to their offices in kyiv,” recalls Mr. Teixeira.
A graduate in Slavic philology, holder of a master’s degree in strategic studies and international security as well as in multimedia journalism, Pablo Gonzalez has made Russia and the former Soviet republics his favorite area. As a freelancer, he has covered the conflict in Donbass since 2014, or even the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, for left-wing media such as the Basque independence newspaper Gara, the news site Publico or the television channel La Sexta.
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