Another outrageous assault on a working journalist. This time it’s happening in Russia.
Excerpted from Committee to Protect Journalists. 6.7.2019
New York, June 7, 2019 — Russian authorities should immediately drop all charges against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, release him, and investigate allegations that he was beaten in police custody, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
“Russian authorities should immediately drop their charges against Ivan Golunov, release him, and investigate allegations of mistreatment of the journalist in police custody,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said. “Russia has a long history of politically motivated charges against independent reporters. Investigative journalism is treated as a crime where it ought to be viewed as a public service.”
Yesterday, in Moscow, two men approached Golunov, an investigative reporter for the independent news website Meduza, grabbed him, handcuffed him, and dragged him to a nearby vehicle, according to a statement by his employer. After Golunov demanded to speak to a lawyer, the men identified themselves as police officers, according to the statement.
Photos- Protestors supporting Ivan Golunov in above photos rally at Moscow Police Headquarters
The officers detained Golunov at a Ministry of Interior building, where they charged him with possessing and attempting to sell illegal drugs after allegedly finding amphetamines in his backpack, according to a statement by the Moscow division of the ministry, which oversees the city’s police force.
Following his arrest, officers punched and slapped Golunov in the head and chest, pushed him to the ground, and dragged him on the floor, according to the Meduza statement. For the first 14 hours of his detention, Golunov was not allowed to contact a lawyer or his family, according to the Meduza statement and mediareports.
Ivan Kolpakov, editor-in-chief at Meduza, told CPJ the drug charges were “absurd,” and said, “I have no doubts that the charges are fabricated and are related to Golunov’s journalism.”
Golunov is detained at the Ministry of Interior Main Division for the Western Administrative Area, Kolpakov told CPJ. He said Golunov will appear before a judge tomorrow, who will rule whether the journalist will remain in detention or if he will be released while the drug investigation is pending.