Published: Thu, June 13, 2019

Drug charges against Russian journalist dropped after public outcry

Drug charges against Russian journalist dropped after public outcry

"A huge thank you for your support", Golunov told journalists and supporters as he walked out of the gates with tears running down his cheeks.

He urged the police to investigate those responsible for what looked like an attempt to discredit Golunov by setting him up to look like a professional drug dealer.

"I will keep doing investigations to justify the trust of all those who supported me", he said.

Russian police unexpectedly dropped drug possession charges against veteran investigative journalist Ivan Golunov on Tuesday afternoon following an unprecedented outcry from Russia's cultural elite.

Those who spoke out against Golunov's detention included the Committee to Protect Journalists, which noted Russia's "long history of politically motivated allegations against reporters". When Russia's three major liberal papers publicly sided with the investigative reporter, Golunov's arrest transformed into a high-profile case.

Mr Kolokoltsev acknowledged he would search data from Russian President Vladimir Putin to brush off two high-ranking officers over the case: the pinnacle of the Interior Affairs Directorate of Moscow's Western Administrative District, Gen Puchkov, and the pinnacle of the Medication Retain watch over Directorate, Peculiar Devyatkin.

The decision to end a criminal investigation against Ivan Golunov on June 11 for purportedly selling drugs is a rare concession by Russian law enforcement, whose power has largely been unassailable under President Vladimir Putin.

The case sparked outrage in Russian Federation and overseas over what critics slammed as the impunity and corruption of law enforcement agencies.

"I'm happy, I'm crying".

"Or now now not it's factual fabulous records", Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny said on Twitter.

The journalist denied the allegations and said the evidence was planted by the police in retaliation for his investigative journalism about local authorities.The case triggered widespread outrage in Russian Federation, with leading media outlets and public figures demanding a swift probe into suspected police corruption.

"An unbelievable event has happened", the reporter said.

He added that he hopes the police will stop trying to frame innocent people, adding: "I hope it will not happen to anyone else in our country". After being beaten in custody and detained for 12 hours without access to a lawyer, Golunov was placed under house arrest and was facing drug dealing charges that carry a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

On Tuesday, the New York Times, which has blacked out nearly entirely the US-led persecution of Assange and Chelsea Manning and the protests internationally against their detention, reported extensively on the arrest of Golunov and protest actions against it under the headline "Reporter's Arrest Sets Off Widespread Protests in Russian Federation".

The officers who arrested Golunov last week have been suspended pending an investigation, Kolokoltsev said.

"I believe that the rights of every citizen, regardless of his profession, must be protected", Mr. Kolokoltsev said.

Ivan Golunov sits inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at a Moscow court.

Supporters had organised a march in Moscow for Wednesday to call for his freedom, with almost 24,000 people replying as attending or interested on Facebook. We are glad that the authorities listened to society. "This is just the beginning, a lot of work lies ahead".

Following his arrest, three leading Russian newspapers - Vedomosti, Kommersant, and RBK - publishing identical front pages that questioned the motives behind his detention.

But the evidence seemed so flimsy that even some staunchly pro-Kremlin television journalists rallied to Golunov's defence.

Golunov's lawyers argued that numerous legal violations accompanied the journalist's arrest.

Russian authorities in the nation's fourth-largest city scrapped plans to build an Orthodox church on a popular square after hundreds of disgruntled residents took to the streets to protest.

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