BERLIN, June 11. /TASS/. The German government welcomes the decision to dismiss a criminal case against Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov and to release him from house arrest, a representative of the German cabinet of ministers told TASS on Tuesday.
"The German government welcomes the release of journalist Ivan Golunov," the cabinet of ministers said. "An independent and multifaceted media landscape is very important for maintaining democracy," the representative added.
"The German government closely follows the developments in Russia and treatment of opposition politicians, journalists and representatives of the civil society," he noted. Germany "supports the freedom of press and human rights everywhere in the world, not only in Russia," he added.
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.