MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. Investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was released from his house arrest as a result of an unprecedented campaign of public solidarity, the Meduza internet news portal said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"This is a result of an unprecedented international campaign of journalist and public solidarity. Together we have achieved an unbelievable result - stopped the criminal invistigation of an innocent person," the statement said.
The statement was signed by Meduza's Director General Galina Timchenko, Meduza's Chief Editor Ivan Kolpakov, chairman of the editorial council of the Novaya Gazeta daily Dmitry Muratov, founder of The Bell portal Yelizaveta Osetinskaya and Golunov's lawyer Sergey Badamshin.
Meduza said that a lot of work still needs to be done "in order to prevent this happening again to anyone." "People behind the operation against Golunov have not been named. A group of journalists that we have assembled over the last several days, will continue working, together with Ivan [Golunov]," the statement noted.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said that the criminal case against journalist Ivan Golunov on suspicion of drug trafficking had been dismissed "in view of the failure to prove his participation in the crime." All charges have been dropped, and he will be released from house arrest on June 11. The materials of the internal probe were referred from the Internal Ministry’s security division to the Investigative Committee to review the legitimacy of the actions by the police officers, who had apprehended Golunov. The officers have been suspended.
Ivan Golunov was taken into custody on June 6. According to the Interior Ministry’s main Moscow office, 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 believed that the prohibited substances had been planted.