MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Moscow’s city government has issued a permission to organize a rally in support of journalist Ivan Golunov in central Moscow on June 23.
"The Moscow city government received a notification from a group of citizens about a public event in the format of a rally in Academician Sakharov Avenue on June 23, 2019, from 17:00 to 19:00 Moscow time to demonstrate popular disagreement with the prosecution of Ivan Golunov and other journalists. The rally is expected to be attended by 20,000 people. The above mentioned event has been authorized by Moscow’s executive bodies," the Moscow regional security and anti-corruption department said on Friday.
According to the Moscow government’s press service, the organizers include a number of member of Russia’s Libertarian Party.
Another authorized rally in support of Ivan Golunov will be held also in Academician Sakharov Avenue on June 16, from 13:00 to 15:00 Moscow time. It is also expected to be attended by 20,000 people.
Golunov, a reporter of the Meduza online 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.
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.
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. A number of top-ranking police officers were fired by a presidential decree on Thursday.