Russian anti-corruption journalist charged with drug dealing

Russian anti-corruption journalist charged with drug dealing
  • Clock-gray 00:28
  • calendar-gray 09 June 2019

A Russian investigative journalist, Ivan Golunov, has been arrested in the capital Moscow and charged with trying to illegally sell drugs, APA reports citing BBC.

He was placed under house arrest after a court hearing. Earlier, he was given a medical examination amid reports he had been injured during the arrest.

The reporter for Latvia-based news site Meduza was detained on Thursday.

His lawyer says drugs were planted on him, an accusation the Russian authorities deny.

Meduza says Mr Golunov, 36, is being "being persecuted because of his journalistic activity".

What do we know about his arrest?

The court rejected a request by investigators to keep him in custody.

He reporter had been on his way to meet another journalist on Thursday when he was stopped and searched by officers.

They say they found the synthetic drug mephedrone in his rucksack, and that a later search of his flat turned up more drugs and some scales - indicating that he was involved in dealing.

The journalist was officially charged on Saturday morning with attempting illegally to produce, sell or pass on drugs.

Police released photos which they said showed drug paraphernalia in Mr Golunov's flat, but these were later withdrawn, BBC Russian journalist Olga Ivshina reports.

The police, she adds, admitted that "most of the published photos had not been taken at Mr Golunov's flat after all, but were related to another criminal investigation that might be linked to his detention".

Meduza said in a statement that Mr Golunov had received threats in recent months over a story he was working on.

"We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent," the statement reads, according to Reuters news agency. "Moreover, we have grounds to believe that Golunov is being persecuted because of his journalistic activity."

What is being reported about his condition?

A medical examination at Moscow's Hospital Number 71 showed that he had an abrasion on his back and bruising around one eye but no serious injuries that required a stay in hospital, Dr Alexander Myasnikov told Russian media.

None of his ribs were broken, he added, after earlier claims that he had suffered a fracture.

Meduza says he was beaten up by officers both during his arrest and later at a police station. He was, the news site says, only able to contact a friend after 14 hours.

In the first video of Mr Golunov since his arrest, posted by the Russian news site Breaking Mash, he lifts up his shirt to reveal marks on his back.

Faiq Mahmudov

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