MOSCOW, May 28 (RAPSI) – The Moscow City Court on Friday convicted ex-police officers charged with planting drugs on journalist Ivan Golunov and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 5 to 12 years, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
The former drug control police department chief for Moscow's Western Administrative District Igor Lyakhovets, who had headed the arrest of Golunov, received 12 years in custody. His subordinates Maxim Umetbayev, Akbar Sergaliyev, and Roman Feofanov were given 8 years in penal colony each.Denis Konovalov, who had confessed and given testimony against the others was sentenced to 5 years behind bars.
The court also deprived the defendants of their ranks and the right to hold law enforcement posts.
Moreover, the court granted Golunov’s 5 million-ruble (about $70,000) claim against the defendants.
Prosecution earlier demanded 16 years in colony for Lyakhovets, 12 years for Umetbayev, Sergaliyev and Feofanov and 7 years for Konovalov.
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.
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. 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.
The defendants are charged with abuse of power, evidence tampering and illegal drug trafficking. Only Konovalov pleaded guilty and testified against the others. He was later released from detention and put under house arrest.