Detention of one of Golunov case defendants changed to house arrest
MOSCOW, February 26 (RAPSI) – Moscow’s Basmanny District Court on Wednesday released ex-policeman Denis Konovalov, a defendant in a criminal case over abuse of power against journalist Ivan Golunov, from detention and put him under house arrest, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
Last week, lawyer Aleksey Kovrizhkin told RAPSI that Konovalov testified against ex-chief of a police department for drug control Igor Lyakhovets, whom Kovrizhkin defends, saying it was him who ordered to plant drugs on Golunov’s bag and apartment. Investigators believe Lyakhovets, who does not admit guilt, is the organizer of the crime.
Earlier, all five ex-police officers, investigators allege are involved in the case, were placed in detention for two months, until March 29.
Defendants are ex-Moscow narcotics control policemen Denis Konovalov, Akbar Sergaliyev, Roman Feofanov, Maxim Umetbayev and ex-chief of their department Igor Lyakhovets. They are charged with abuse of power, evidence tampering and illegal drug trafficking. All the men plead not guilty.
Investigators believe that they planted drugs on Golunov. Thus, they falsified the results of operative search activity that later became inculpatory evidence against Golunov in a drug dealing case; however, the drugs had been earlier illegally bought and kept by the police officers, according the Investigative Committee.
In late December 2019, investigators opened the case over arrest of Golunov. The journalist was recognized as an injured party. All five defendants in the case have been dismissed from police.
Golunov was arrested in Moscow on June 6, 2019. On June 8, the Nikulinsky District Court of Moscow placed him under house arrest for 2 months. According to the Interior Ministry’s official statement, police seized nearly 4 grams of methylmethedrone from Golunov.
The journalist pleaded not guilty, insisted that the drugs were planted on him during the arrest and claimed that his prosecution is related to his journalistic investigations.
According to his defense, an examination showed no drugs in his biomaterial.
On June 11, charges against Golunov were dropped because of a lack of evidence that he participated in the crime, and the journalist was released.
On June 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed two generals of police on the back of the arrest of Golunov.