Charges against investigative journalist dropped, Russia's interior minister says

Charges against investigative journalist dropped, Russia's interior minister says

In a surprise move, authorities said on Tuesday that there isn't enough evidence to back up the charges against Golunov, 36.

Officers said they had discovered mephedrone in his bag, and a search of his home discovered more drugs and weighing scales, indicating involvement in the sale of the substances. His lawyers maintained the drugs had been planted on him at the time of his detention.

Golunov's reporting has focused on corruption, illicit business practices, and crimes committed by those close to power in Moscow. His outlet Meduza reported that Golunov had been receiving threats in recent months. Golunov's freedom was announced by his employer, Meduza. On Saturday, he had to be hospitalized with doctors noting, among other things, a concussion and a broken rib. He said the tests indicated that it is unlikely that he regularly handles drugs as police has suggested. In the court hearing, he denied being involved with drugs and said he would be willing to help investigators. "Similar cases here have previously got caught up in Russia's legal system with no way to get out, with the Kremlin saying they were unable to free a detained person - and Golunov's supporters were very anxious he would meet the same fate".

Golunov has built a reputation for investigating corruption among Moscow's most powerful oligarchs and political elite.

Kolokoltsev also said he would ask President Vladimir Putin to sack the head of a Moscow police department and another senior official in charge of drug control in the capital. The headline reads 'I am/We are Ivan Golunov'. The issues of the three newspapers sold out within a few hours and are now being auctioned off online. Celebrities, including those normally who remain outside politics, posted messages in support.

"It be correct fantastic data", Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny acknowledged on Twitter.

In an exercise of shameless hypocrisy, the same politicians and media that have fully supported the persecution, torture and illegal detention of Julian Assange, and the censorship of the Internet, now decry the arrest of Golunov as an assault on free speech and media freedom.

Prominent Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, cries as he leaves a Investigative Committee building in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

His case set off alarm bells in Moscow's journalism circles, Bershidsky writes, including the fear that "anyone could be next in line".

"We expect a thorough and transparent investigation into this case".

The scale and breadth of the criticisms in support of an independent journalist have been nearly unheard of in today's Russian Federation.

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The speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament has raised concerns about a drug dealing case against a prominent investigative journalist. The few opposition and independent media that still operate in Russian Federation are under huge pressure, Kremlin critics say. "We are seeing this in Latvia, where different laws are being used for the benefit of select institutions rather for the benefit of the society at large, and the number of possibilities journalists have for fighting this are constantly on the wane", said Ģiga.

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