Russian law enforcers drop case against reporter Golunov

Russian law enforcers drop case against reporter Golunov

Russian police have abruptly dropped drugs charges against journalist Ivan Golunov, known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials.

Golunov faced a possible sentence of 10 years or more. "This all happened so quickly and thank you for that, that you supported me". "He will be released from house arrest today, the charges are dropped".

In a statement announcing Golunov's freedom, Meduza's leader thanked what they called "an unprecedented worldwide solidarity campaign" of journalists and others who are committed to free speech.

"We demand that the law be observed by everyone and for everyone", they said. Freeland said the event will bring up "specific cases" around the world where the lives of journalists are at risk but wouldn't go into details.

"Solidarity between journalists is by far the most important thing, and perhaps the most unsafe weapon that journalists have", said Arta Ģiga, a board member of the Latvian Journalists' Association.

In this photo taken on Saturday, June 8, 2019, Ivan Golunov, a prominent Russian investigative reporter, who worked for the independent website Meduza, leaves the cage in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Reports mentioned he was overwhelmed during his arrest.

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.

Police said earlier they had detained over 200 people.

Award-winning journalist Roman Badanin was ousted from three major editorial positions between 2011 and 2016 after the media outlets under his leadership touched on topics believed to be too sensitive for the Kremlin.

To Badanin, the crackdown on Golunov stands out because it lower-level decision-makers, rather than the Kremlin or government-connected tycoons, were likely behind it. In an unprecedented move, three of Russia's leading daily newspapers published identical front pages on Monday bearing the words, "I/we are Ivan Golunov".

Freeland, a journalist before she entered politics, told reporters, "We are following the current situation in Russian Federation very closely and with great interest and attention". One of the more famous cases involved Anna Politkovskaya, renowned for her critical coverage of the Russian military's invasion and occupation of Chechnya.

Golunov's release prompted several prominent officials, including close Putin ally Alexei Kudrin, to call for a review of how drug charges are used and abused.

An internal inquiry was underway and the two arresting officers had been suspended, Mr Kolokoltsev said. But in detaining a respected and well-liked journalist, they seemed to have gone too far - suggesting that almost two decades into Putin's rule, there are still limits to state power. While those who organized the operation against him haven't been named, journalists will continue their work, they said. "This is only the beginning".

Despite the victory, Meduza says the work to prevent anyone else being treated in a similar way has only just begun.

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