Russian police drop drug charges against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov

Erika Holt
June 14, 2019

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.

"As TV channels continue to inundate viewers with propaganda, the climate has become very oppressive for those who question the new patriotic and neo-conservative discourse, or just try to maintain quality journalism", the RSF said in its 2019 summary for Russian Federation, describing the atmosphere for independent journalists as "stifling".

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. Ricardo Gutiérrez of the European Federation of Journalists said, "We believe that the main goal of this police operation is to silence him and intimidate all journalists investigating the corruption of Russian officials".

Russian journalists critical of authorities have led a unsafe existence since the 1990s - sometimes threatened, physically attacked and even murdered for their work.

Before the police backed down, almost 25,000 people had signed up to a Facebook page expressing their intention to take part in a protest march on Wednesday in solidarity with Mr. Golunov.

The Moscow ombudsman, the capital's head of the Interior Ministry and the State Prosecutor General all became involved in the case, and an advisor of Russian President Vladimir Putin asked to receive reports on it.

Golunov rose to prominence with his investigations into corruption at the Moscow City Hall, the crime-ridden funeral industry and the murky food markets.

While the news of Golunov's arrest came as a surprise to many, word of Tuesday's abrupt reversal came as a shock.

Cops: Suspect in Ortiz shooting was offered $7.8K
According to court documents obtained by the AP, Feliz Garcia botched the getaway by losing control of his motorcycle. Garcia made an initial court appearance in Santo Domingo Tuesday night and remains in police custody.

UK prime ministerial hopeful Michael Gove admits past use of cocaine
The point I made in the article is that if any of us lapse sometimes from standards that we uphold, that is human'. He added: "I think he must always be praised for his candour". "In fact, I would possess been doing icing sugar".

McIlroy sets sights on Pebble Beach after winning Canadian Open
McIlroy added the Canadian Open to his schedule for the first time largely because it was moved to the week before the US Open . The victory in McIlroy's Canadian Open debut was his fifth in a national open, following the U.S.

Judicial statistics indicate that the chances for criminal charges to be dropped or an acquittal once a person is in custody are extremely slim.

The circumstances of Golunov's detention alarmed others in the media.

Police say they found drugs in Mr. Golunov's rucksack, and he faces between 10 and 20 years in jail if found guilty. The reporter was put under house arrest by a court on Saturday, despite him maintaining that the drugs were planted.

Had Golunov dared expose war crimes of USA imperialism or any other major imperialist power, these outlets would have no doubt maintained near-complete silence about his case, as they have done with regard to the persecution of Assange and Manning, and the charges brought against a French journalist who exposed French arms sales to Saudi Arabia for the criminal war in Yemen. The case's closure was celebrated by many as evidence that Russia's civil society has the strength to force a response from authorities and as a victory over official unaccountability. They later retracted the statement, saying that the photos were taken elsewhere.

In a rare display of solidarity, three major Russian newspapers used the same headline on their Monday front pages to show their support for Golunov.

The solidarity surprisingly extended to tightly controlled state TV channels, with some commentators referring to Golunov as "a colleague" and questioning the police evidence.

"The group of journalists we have gathered together in recent days will continue working, and now, they will be working together with Ivan himself", the statement said.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER