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‘Mistakes & violations’ in high-profile case against journalist Golunov, Russian Senate head says

‘Mistakes & violations’ in high-profile case against journalist Golunov, Russian Senate head says
There may have been a “provocation” in the controversial drug dealing case against journalist Ivan Golunov, and the way the prosecution was handled sows distrust towards the investigators, the head of the Russian Senate said.

“[Some] mistakes and violations [in the case] have already been reported. This, of course, leads to distrust towards the investigators, which is the worst part of this story,” Valentina Matviyenko told reporters on Tuesday. She said that this occurred due to either “unprofessionalism” or a “provocation.”

The official said that the suspect was detained beyond the maximum time allowed by law for a person not formally charged with a crime. She also said that Golunov was not present when his apartment was searched, and that the investigators later admitted that only one of the police photos, allegedly showing the results of that search, was actually taken there.

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Matviyenko called for “the most thorough investigation” into the case and said that the nation’s chief prosecutor assured her he will “personally” oversee it.

“This story is not good, really,” she stressed.

Investigative reporter Ivan Golunov was charged with drug dealing and placed under house arrest over the weekend. The police say they found drugs inside the journalist’s backpack, which he allegedly wanted to sell, and later found more in his apartment. If found guilty, Golunov, who works for the Latvia-based Russia-focused news website Meduza, could face from 10 to 20 years in prison.

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Golunov denies all charges, insisting that he had never handled or took drugs. His defense team believes that the illegal substances were planted by police. It was later confirmed that drug tests taken by the journalist were negative.

The case sparked outrage from the Russian media community, with many journalists voicing solidarity with Golunov and calling for his prosecution to end. They were joined by human rights campaigners, famous artists and other public figures.

The journalist’s supporters also pointed out inconsistencies in the investigation and raised concerns over how Golunov was treated by the officers during pre-trial detention. The case is also being closely watched by the Kremlin, the president’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, adding that there are “questions that need to be clarified.”

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