Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Russian journalist taken to hospital amid accusations he was beaten by police

Russian journalist taken to hospital amid accusations he was beaten by police

A Russian investigative journalist facing drugs charges in a case supporters have denounced as a frame-up was taken to hospital Saturday after complaining of being beaten in police custody.

In a statement, Moscow police said a later search of Golunov's apartment turned up more drugs and some scales and that they had opened a criminal investigation.

Golunov has said the drugs were planted.

Golunov, who was arrested on Thursday, earlier told a representative of Russia's presidential rights council, which advises Vladimir Putin that police had punched him and stood on his chest, while police denied he was beaten.

Ivan Golunov was charged with the attempted "large-scale" sale of narcotics, according to rights lawyer Pavel Chikov of the legal-aid group Agora, whose staff is defending the reporter. A police statement on June 8 said Golunov had been taken to a hospital for a medical examination.

Supporters of detained journalist Ivan Golunov rally at the Moscow police headquarters on Friday, June 7.

Outside the court building, several journalists held up placards with slogans including "I am the journalist Ivan Golunov".

However, many journalists suspect the arrest was retribution for his investigative work.

Meduza general director Galina Timchenko told reporters that Golunov had been receiving death threats.

He will remain under house arrest for two months, the judge said.

Mr Golunov said he had been involved in "scuffles" with police, and showed bruises. Authorities said they found packets of mephedrone, a designer drug, in his backpack.

Golunov has investigated everything from Russia's shady funeral industry to corruption in Moscow city hall.

Meduza quoted Chikov on Saturday as saying that an ambulance doctor who examined Golunov in police custody said the journalist had concussion, bruising and possible broken ribs.

The respected site is based in European Union member Latvia to avoid Russian censorship, but some journalists live in Russia.

One of Golunov's lawyers, Dmitry Dzhulai, told AFP it appeared the drugs had been planted on Golunov.

"Everything indicates that the authorities are planting drugs on their targets to shut them up with a jail sentence", said Natalia Zviagina.

A Moscow court is reviewing his case, with the prosecution reportedly planning to ask for a 72 hour extension to his preliminary detention. "He also hasn't eaten".

"We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent". Police refused to hospitalize the journalist, Meduza said.

"Ivan also explained to me that when he was brought to the apartment for a search, he was in a auto with police officers for 20 to 30 minutes", Golunov's lawyer told Meduza.

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