Russian journalist under threat of imprisonment
Golunov’s publications have focussed on abuses and violations of the Moscow mayor’s office. He currently works for Medusa, and has worked for Vedomosti, Forbes, RBC, Elephant and on TV channel Dozhd.
During his arrest in the police department, physical force was applied to him, and he was denied the right to call a lawyer. He was kept in handcuffs for 24 hours.
On June 7, when his arrest and the charges against him were made public, the public reaction was not one of indifference – hundreds of people came to the building of the Moscow police with picket signs in support of Golunov. Many protesters were detained, but subsequently released.
A petition demanding the release of Golunov was signed by over 3,000 of his colleagues — journalists, editors, producers — within 24 hours. A general petition with the same requirement has already collected more than 20,000 signatures. The founder of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov, and the editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy radio station signed a guarantee for the court. The editors of Medusa issued a statement saying:
“We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent. Moreover, we have reason to believe that Golunov is being persecuted because of his journalistic activities. We know that in recent months, Ivan has been threatened; we know that it is because of an upcoming text [he is writing], we can guess who [is threatening him]”.
On June 8, an ambulance was called to the police station where Golunov was being held. The doctor stated that he likely had fractured ribs and a concussion, in addition to a hematoma. Golunov was sent to the hospital for examination, from where he will be taken to court for a custody hearing.
Social media networks and Golunov’s colleagues express their assessments of what happened:
“Novaya Gazeta supports the statements of colleagues who demand a thorough, independent and objective investigation, and we also insist on departmental and prosecutorial checking of reports on the violation of the rights of Ivan Golunov as a detainee, in particular on the non-admission of a lawyer and the possible use of physical violence.”
“There was almost no politics in the investigations of Ivan Golunov – just figures illustrating the economic crimes of the officials and business affiliated with the authorities” Dozhd TV channel said.
“The arrogant and shameless provocation against the well-known investigative journalist Ivan Golunov is nothing more than the implementation of a hybrid creeping coup in the interests of those power and security structures that are concerned about the loss of their positions as a result of the inevitable transfer of power in Russia in the coming years”, wrote journalist Arkady Dubnov.