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Kremlin hopes complaints about police brutality at June 12 rallies will be investigated

However, the Kremlin spokesman noted, it is up to the municipal authorities to sanction such rallies and comment on police actions

BISHKEK, June 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin hopes complaints about police brutality at the June 12 unauthorized rallies over journalist Ivan Golunov’s case will be probed into but will refrain from comments, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"We know about complaints against ungrounded and unprovoked police violence," he said. "We have read reports about that. But I am sure necessary probes will be conducted to prevent such things in future."

However, he noted, it is up to the municipal authorities to sanction such rallies and comment on police actions.

An unauthorized rally in support of Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov, who had been charged with illegal drug trade, was held in central Moscow on June 12. The rally had been announced before Golunov’s release and the statement by Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev that the journalist was cleared of charges. The city authorities had earlier authorized a rally on Sakharov Avenue on June 16, explaining that on Wednesday Moscow holds cultural events devoted to celebrating Russia Day.

Golunov, a reporter of the Meduza media outlet, walked free on Tuesday after police had dropped criminal charges against him amid claims that he was framed. The journalist was taken into custody on June 6. According to the interior ministry’s main Moscow city department, Golunov was carrying four grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug, while five grams of cocaine were found during a search of his rented apartment. Subsequently, he was charged with drug dealing, whereupon Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court placed the journalist under house arrest. Golunov denied all the accusations from the beginning, and his defense attorney said he believed that the prohibited substances had been planted.

On Tuesday, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that criminal charges against Golunov had been dropped over the failure to prove his involvement in the crime. The officers, who had detained Golunov, were suspended. The journalist’s detention has sparked a public outcry and his colleagues have been holding pickets outside the interior ministry’s building in Moscow demanding his release.

Wednesday’s rally in Moscow involved more than 1,000 people. More than 200 were detained.