Team 29: On the case of journalist Ivan Golunov - arrested, framed and beaten

posted 10 Jun 2019, 10:28 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Jun 2019, 10:29 ]

7 June 2019

Hi there,

This is Katya Arenina, and I’m really angry and upset at the same time.  We get an incredible amount of spam hitting our inbox all the time.  Just today, a message came in headed, ‘Your very worst nightmare’.  In it, there was some nonsense about a hacked account and an instruction to ‘transfer bitcoins’.  No, guys, the bad nightmare isn’t your moronic emails (seriously, does anyone still believe this stuff?). The worst nightmare of all is what’s happening right now to the Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov.

If anyone isn’t aware (though I doubt it), Golunov was arrested yesterday afternoon in Moscow as he was heading to a meeting with a source.  On searching him, they found (they didn’t find it, of course, they planted it) a packet of what appeared to be mephedrone on him.  They searched him without a lawyer present, but with witnesses who were well known to Criminal Investigation Department officials.  They didn’t allow Golunov to call anyone until 4am and they beat him up.

‘Baza’ cites Golunov’s testimony:

They put me under psychological pressure, too, calling me a “queer”.  When I refused to sign their report, they wouldn’t let me call a lawyer, then the SP [poss. special psychologist?] beat me up. (…) …When it was time for the inspection, and I asked to call a lawyer once again, I reached for a chair and stood up.  I tried to hold onto it, but they began to pull at my legs.  Then we fell down and I hit the left side of my head on the step. (…) …I lay on the floor at the bottom of the stairs and they dragged me.  Maksim pushed down on my chest with his foot.  The other official called Maksim punched me on the cheek with his fist.

Naturally, these words invoke real hatred.  The Main Directorate of Internal Affairs in Moscow has posted pictures of some drug lab on its site that they allegedly found at Golunov’s home, but his friends say that 8 of the 9 photos were just taken somewhere else.  Meanwhile, no charge appears to have been brought, yet he is suspected of the attempted sale of narcotics in a large quantity.

It’s not yet clear how we can help, just raise awareness.  If you’re in Moscow, you could go down to the picket on Petrovka, as this will help a little.  Also, believe that Golunov is innocent.  Those who are now saying no smoke without fire are just really lucky people who haven’t yet had anything like that happen to them.  Golunov is one of the very best Russian investigative journalists, and his work was clearly bothering someone, so this is what they came up with as a way out.  Read more about the case on Meduza, where they have put together some links to Golunov’s best articles.  That’s it for the news today.

Katya, T29

Translated by Lindsay Munford