A prominent investigative journalist specializing in anti-government and private corruption was arrested in Moscow on allegations of drug trafficking.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Ivan Golunov, a columnist for the independent Russian media network Meduza, was arrested on Thursday afternoon, accused of possession of mephedrone, colloquially known as "bath salts".
Galina Timchenko, General Director of Meduza, told the AP that his co-worker showed signs that she had been beaten in police custody. The police denied this and stated in a press release that Golunov's arrest was linked to an operation aimed at opening a drug ring in Moscow.
"We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent," it said in a press release.
"Besides, we have reason to believe that Golunov is persecuted because of his journalism. We know that Vanya [Golunov] has received threats in recent months, and we know which unfinished story they refer to, "added Meduza.
Other journalists of the country have commented on the Golunov's arrest in the social The media, including one that reportedly tweeted that it was "easy" for the police to "find" a drug laboratory in a suspect's home, hinted that such evidence had been demonstrated.
"Golunov's Detention has less to do with crackdowns on journalists, "Alexei Pivovarov said, tweeting," It's about the fact that they can be after everyone. It's easy to find a drug lab with you. "
Amnesty International also denounced Golunov's arrest and cited it as an obvious act of censorship.
" There is evidence that the authorities are putting drugs at their target imprison them with jail, "said Nataliya Zviagina, head of the Amnesty office in Russia, to the AP.
" Ivan Golunov is a prominent critic, and his investigations into government corruption have come clearly to the attention of the authorities not good, "she added." Apparently, he's paying the price now. "