Prominent Russian journalist charged with drug dealing; colleagues claim persecution

Elias Hubbard
June 8, 2019

Best known for his investigation into corruption of Moscow's most powerful oligarchs, journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested in central Moscow Thursday while traveling to meet a source.

Russian journalist Ivan Golunov is seen on this 2018 photo provided June 7, 2019. Another bag and scales were found later in his apartment.

Tests revealed that the substance was a synthetic stimulant drug, mephedrone and Golunov is now suspected of attempted illegal drugs distribution, which he rejects, Dzhulai said, adding that his client is convinced that the drugs had been planted. Golunov was also denied his right to a phone call, and the police refused to take samples from his hands and bag to determine if he was ever in contact with the substance found in his bag.

"We believe Ivan Golunov is innocent", Meduza editors Galina Timchenko and Ivan Kalpokov said in a statement, according to Al Jazeera.

Moscow police said the allegations that Golunov had been beaten as he was arrested "do not correspond to reality".

The editorial management of Meduza, which is based in Latvia, said in a statement that Golunov had received threats in recent months in connection with a story he was working on.

"Moreover, we have reason to believe that Golunov is being persecuted because of his journalistic activities".

Golunov is well known in Russian Federation for his investigations into graft in the capital.

Navalny said it was an attempt by Moscow authorities to silence him ahead of regional elections in September. Signs of beatings were seen on the journalist's head, the lawyer said.

The Moscow Times is Russia's leading independent English-language media outlet.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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