Russia: Police Arrest, Beat Investigative Journalist
In response to the June 6 arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Yesterday’s arrest of Ivan Golunov silences a critical voice exposing grand corruption and nepotism in Moscow’s city government,” said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House. “The absurd accusations of drug distribution, his alleged mistreatment by the police, and the denial of his right to speak to his lawyer are clearly intended to suppress his crucial reporting and intimidate other investigative journalists in Russia. This is the latest example of Russian law enforcement framing civic actors for drug distribution. Golunov must be released immediately and all charges against him dropped.”
On June 7, 2019 the independent media outlet Meduza announced that its Moscow correspondent, Ivan Golunov, had been arrested on charges of attempted controlled substance production and distribution. Golunov was reportedly held for 12 hours without access to a lawyer and was allegedly beaten. The Moscow department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied any wrongdoing. Golunov is known for his deeply researched investigative reports on criminal schemes in Moscow’s housing market, the sources of Moscow government officials’ immense wealth, mortuary services cartels, and other corruption-related matters. Recently, Oyub Titiev, the head of the Chechen branch of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, was also prosecuted on spurious drug possession and distribution charges.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.