Journalist Golunov to be questioned in drug planting case on January 18
MOSCOW, January 12 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Tuesday postponed questioning of journalist Ivan Golunov, an injured party in the case against former police officers, who have allegedly planted drugs on him, until January 18, RAPSI reported from the courtroom.
The hearing was adjourned because a defense lawyer for one of the defendants failed to appear in court.
In late October, the court extended restrictive measures of the accused men until April 2021.
Defendants are Maxim Umetbayev, Akbar Sergaliyev, Roman Feofanov, Denis Konovalov, who had confessed and given testimony against the others, and a former drug control police department chief for Moscow's Western Administrative District Igor Lyakhovets, who had allegedly headed the arrest of Golunov.
In late February, Alexey Kovrizhkin, the lawyer for Lyakhovets, told RAPSI that another defendant Konovalov had testified against his client, saying it was him who had ordered to plant drugs on Golunov’s bag and apartment. Investigators believe Lyakhovets, who does not admit guilt, is the organizer of the crime.
The defendants are charged with abuse of power, evidence tampering and illegal drug trafficking. Only Konovalov pleaded guilty. He was later released from detention and put under house arrest.
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 were 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, 2019, 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.