Journalist pleads not guilty of attempt to sell drugs

Larry Hoffman
June 11, 2019

A prominent investigative journalist who was detained on drug dealing charges in Russian Federation has been taken to hospital after complaining of feeling unwell in police custody.

His lawyer says drugs were planted on him, an accusation the Russian authorities deny. Rights groups Amnesty said there was evidence that the authorities were fabricating drugs charges to shut up their critics.

Golunov's lawyer Pavel Chikov earlier wrote on Telegram that medics suspected Golunov had broken ribs, bruising and concussion. In Moscow, people queued up to hold a poster in support of the journalist.

A Russian investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, has been arrested in the capital Moscow and charged with attempting to illegally promote medication. Just indicate that they were written by Ivan Golunov, a correspondent for Meduza's Department of Investigative Reporting, and include the names of their translators and co-authors, which are listed at the end of each piece.

"Ivan received threats. Two months ago they became nearly daily", she said.

Mr Golunov acknowledged he had been focused on "scuffles" with police, and confirmed bruises.

"We believe that Ivan Golunov has become a target of a crude and ludicrous provocation", it said. Golunov has investigated subjects ranging from Russia's shady funeral industry to corruption in Moscow city hall.

His employer says Golunov is being persecuted for his investigative journalism.

Saturday evening, after judge Mikhail Maximov said Golunov would be released to house arrest, a crowd of hundreds of supporters outside the courthouse erupted in cheers.

One of Golunov's lawyers, Dmitry Dzhulai, told AFP it appeared the drugs had been planted on Golunov. According to police, he was carrying several packages containing 4 grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug.

"Everything indicates that the authorities are planting drugs on their targets to shut them up with a jail sentence", said Natalia Zvyagina, director of Amnesty International's branch in Russian Federation.

The joint statement commended the court's decision on house arrest, but added that a detailed check of the actions of officers involved in Golunov's detention to ensure they comply with the law was needed. "He also hasn't eaten".

Police released photography which they acknowledged showed drug paraphernalia in Mr Golunov's flat, but these were later withdrawn, BBC Russian journalist Olga Ivshina experiences.

"I am/we are Ivan Golunov", the Kommersant, Vedomosti and RBK newspapers declared in giant letters on their front pages.

Protesters called for his release during rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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