The Latest: Freed Russian journalist thanks supporters
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on a Russian journalist arrested on drug charges (all times local):
A prominent Russian journalist absolved of drug-dealing charges under public pressure has thanked his supporters and promised to continue his investigations.
The 36-year-old Ivan Golunov was stopped by police on a Moscow street on Thursday and taken into custody, where his defense team says he was beaten and denied a lawyer for more than 12 hours.
In a stunning turnaround, the Russian Interior Ministry dropped drug-dealing charges against Golunov, freed him from house arrest and suspended top officers who oversaw his case.
Speaking to dozens of reporters outside Moscow police headquarters Tuesday after receiving a notice that the case against him were dropped, Golunov said he can’t believe that the quick exculpation was a reality. He said “I will keep doing investigations to justify the trust of all those who supported me.”
Russia’s interior minister says all charges against an investigative journalist arrested on suspicion of drug dealing have been dropped.
Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said in a statement on Tuesday that the accusations against Ivan Golunov “have not been proven.”
Kolokoltsev said Golunov has been released from house arrest and he intends to seek the dismissal of two senior police officials and to investigate others.
Golunov was jailed on Thursday and put under house arrest on Saturday. He denied possessing drugs and the circumstances of his case aroused suspicion among rights activists the journalist had been framed.
This version corrects that Kolokoltsev said he plans to seek the dismissal of two senior police officials, not three.
The speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament has raised concerns about a drug dealing case against a prominent investigative journalist.
Valentina Matviyenko, who is Russia’s third most senior official after the president and prime minister, on Tuesday described the criminal inquiry into Ivan Golunov as “a really bad story.” She said that she spoke to the prosecutor general who promised to take the case under his personal control.
Golunov, who works for the independent website Meduza, was beaten and kept in custody for 12 hours without a lawyer after he was stopped by police in Moscow on Thursday, according to his lawyer. He was transferred to house arrest following a public outpouring of support, but he still faces drug dealing charges.