Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Russian journalist Ivan Golunov charged with attempted drug dealing

Ivan Golunov spoke of how a powerful oligarch had tried to bribe him to secure positive coverage Ivan Golunov spoke of how a powerful oligarch had tried to bribe him to secure positive coverage
Patty Aguilar | 09 June, 2019, 02:52

"Moreover, we have reason to believe that Golunov is being persecuted because of his journalistic activities", Meduza Director General Galina Timchenko and Chief Editor Ivan Kolpakov said in a statement, adding that he has been previously threatened for his work.

Chikov said a doctor who treated Golunov feared he may have broken ribs, a concussion, and a hematoma.

Golunov on Friday told a representative of Russia's presidential rights council, which advises President Vladimir Putin, that he had been beaten while in custody, with police twice punching him in the head and standing on his chest.

The 36-year-old has investigated high-level corruption among Moscow officials.

However, Meduza - the outlet Golunov works for - cited the reporter's close friends who claimed that only one of the photos appears to have been taken in his apartment.

Golunov was charged with attempted dealing in designer drug mephedrone and cocaine.

Ivan Golunov was charged with the attempted "large-scale" sale of narcotics, according to rights lawyer Pavel Chikov of the legal-aid group Agora, whose staff is defending the reporter.

Around a hundred people cheered outside the court to show support for Ivan Golunov, 36, in a case that has drawn global concern.

Outside the court building, several journalists held up placards with slogans including "I am the journalist Ivan Golunov".

Golunov has investigated everything from Russia's shady funeral industry to corruption in Moscow city hall.

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"Ivan received threats. Two months ago, they became nearly daily", Meduza general director Galina Timchenko told journalists outside court.

The news website is based in the European Union member state of Latvia to avoid Russian censorship, but some of its journalists live in Russia.

"We are confident that Ivan Golunov is not guilty", the Meduza statement said.

"The detainee ... complained of feeling unwell".

Dmitry Dzhulai, Golunov's lawyer, said that he believed police had planted the drugs on his client to frame him.

"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 office in Russian Federation.

A prominent Russian investigative journalist who was detained this week for alleged drug offences has been taken to hospital, according to Russian news agencies.

The journalist's arrest sparked protests in Moscow and St Petersburg, and more than a dozen people - mostly fellow journalists - were reportedly detained and later released.

Ivan Golunov attends pre-trial court hearing at Nikulinsky court in Moscow.

Golunov's arrest triggered shockwaves among independent reporters in Russian Federation.

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