The charges against Russian journalist Ivan Golunov, who was accused of drug trafficking, were dropped, and two police generals were thrown out of the case, “said Interfax news agency Tuesday, citing Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokolcev.
“Based on the results of forensic, biological, dactyloscopic, and genetic expert studies, it has been decided to close the criminal proceedings against Ivan Golunov, because his involvement in the crime has not been proven,” he said.
The Meduza opposition newsletter, whose home arrest was ordered by the court on Saturday, was released on Tuesday night. Colleagues welcomed at the building of the headquarters of the Interior Ministry’s investigation group.
Golunov was arrested on Friday and abused by the police in Moscow, claiming to have found drugs in his backpack and flat. The case provoked wide-ranging indignation in Russia, independent of political affiliation, as it was suspected that the authorities tried to silence the journalist who had written in his articles about unscrupulous offenders and an organization in the funeral sector on the basis of false accusations.
According to the journalist, criminal cases were also attended by leaders of Moscow city officials and security bodies. In the drug case, Golunov persisted throughout his innocence.
In addition to the announcement of Kolokolcev – Golunov’s release, President Vladimir Putin initiated the release of Major General Andrej Pucskov, police commander in Moscow’s western administrative district, and Major General Yuriy Gyevjatkin, head of the Department of Drugs in the Ministry of the Interior in capital affairs. The materials of the internal investigation conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs were handed over to the Committee of Inquiry into Criminal Crimes (SC).
The project’s Russian news portal said on Monday that the presidential office would like to close the big port busted case by June 20, when Vladimir Putin will respond to questions from the population on live broadcasts for several hours. On Tuesday, this announcement was called unfounded by Dmitry Peszkov’s presidential spokesman, before Kolokolcev’s announcement.
Wednesday’s Golunov’s solidarity demonstration, which its organizers want to keep in downtown Moscow, was announced. Almost 25,000 on Facebook reported their intention to participate. The mayor’s office complained that he had not been contacted with him and complained to the Attorney General’s Office on the issue of securing the movement.
After his release, Golunov stated that he would not go to the demonstration of solidarity for which he had no prior knowledge. He suggested that everyone would rather support those in distress. He promised to continue his fact-finding journalism, something that would be helpful in investigating the police against him.
On Tuesday, late afternoon on the Change.org website, the number of signatures exceeded 180,000 in a petition seeking to release Golunov.