MOSCOW, March 24 (RAPSI) – Investigators have lodged motions to extend detention of four ex-police officers involved in the case over drug planting on journalist Ivan Golunov.

Consideration of the motions against Igor Lyakhovets, Maxim Umetbayev, Akbar Sergaliyev and Roman Feofanov is set in the Basmanny District Court of Moscow for March 26, the court’s spokesperson Irina Morozova told RAPSI on Tuesday.

In late February, Alexey Kovrizhkin, the lawyer for Lyakhovets, told RAPSI that another defendant Denis 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.

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 Lyakhovets, Konovalov, Akbar Sergaliyev, Roman Feofanov, Maxim Umetbayev. They are charged with abuse of power, evidence tampering and illegal drug trafficking. All the men except Konovalov plead not guilty. Konovalov 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 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.