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article imageRussian reporter appeals house arrest ahead of solidarity march

By AFP     Jun 11, 2019 in World

The lawyers for a Russian investigative reporter appealed against his house arrest on Tuesday as thousands of supporters prepared for a solidarity march in Moscow.

Journalist Ivan Golunov was detained on drug charges last week that his lawyers and supporters say were trumped up to punish him for his investigations.

His arrest -- carried out with what his lawyers say were numerous legal violations -- has sparked outrage over what critics see as the impunity and corruption of law enforcement agencies.

Lawyer Sergei Badamshin told AFP the defence team had appealed against his house arrest.

Golunov, a 36-year-old reporter with Meduza, an independent Russian-language media outlet, was arrested last week. He says he was beaten in detention and had to receive hospital treatment.

The front pages of Kommersant  Vedomosti and RBK dailies declared: "I am/we are Ivan Golunov&qu...
The front pages of Kommersant, Vedomosti and RBK dailies declared: "I am/we are Ivan Golunov"
Yuri KADOBNOV, AFP

He was released from pre-trial jail and placed under house arrest at the weekend after hundreds of supporters protested outside the Moscow police headquarters and also gathered outside a courthouse.

Golunov has been charged with attempting to deal a "large amount" of drugs and faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.

Defence lawyers and supporters say drugs were planted on him.

Lawyer Badamshin said the latest tests showed Golunov's fingerprints had not been found on any of the items seized during a search of his apartment.

More than 23,000 people have responded to a Facebook event for the Moscow march in support of Golunov on Wednesday, a public holiday in the country for Russia Day.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned the march could interfere with planned festivities.

One of the organisers, journalist Ilya Azar of opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, retorted on Facebook that it was "first and foremost the criminal prosecution of Ivan Godunov that interferes with the festive atmosphere".

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