07 Jun 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 07 Jun 2019 n° 67/2019 Russian Federation
Investigative Journalist Ivan Golunov, Known For His Investigations Into Political Corruption, Arrested For “Selling Drugs”
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On 6 June 2019, investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was detained by police and accused of drug dealing. Golunov is a journalist with the online news website, Meduza, and he is who known for investigating political corruption and criminality in the city of Moscow. Meduza had recently received threats in relation to a story he was pursuing. At around 14.30 on 6 June 2019, Golunov was on his way to meet with a source when several policemen stopped him near Tsvetnoy Bulvar metro station in Moscow and searched his backpack. They told him that they found a package, which contained four grams of the synthetic stimulant mephedrone. Golunov denied that the package belonged to him. He was arrested and taken to the police station. Golunov is reported to have requested that swabs be taken of his hands and fingernails to prove that he had not been in contact with the drugs, but police refused to do so. Police also refused to forensically examine of the journalist’s backpack. In a statement, police said they found more drugs and some scales in his apartment, and that they had opened a criminal investigation. If convicted Golunov could face a sentence of up to 20 years. According to information received, Golunov was deprived of his right to call his lawyer or colleagues more than 12 hours after his arrest. He was also physically assaulted by the police during the interrogation, after which police refused to call medics to address the injuries that he had sustained. On 7 June 2019, journalists picketed Moscow City’s Police Headquarters in protest at Galunov’s detention. Police subsequently began detaining the picketing journalists, twelve of whom have been briefly detained before being released. According to the latest information, they remain in detention. The CEO and editor-in-chief of Meduza published the following statement after Golunov's arrest: “We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent. Moreover, we have reason to think that he is prosecuted for his journalistic activity. [...] Meduza will be closely watching every action of the investigators in Golunov case. We will find out whose will is behind the prosecution – and we will make this information public. We will defend our journalist with all available means”.
Journalists in detention