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Russian Investigative Journalist Placed On House Arrest For Alleged Drug Crimes

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Francesca Ebel  AP

"Paramedics decided that he should be taken to hospital for examination". According to police, they also found additional drugs, including cocaine, along with scales, in Golunov's apartment. There were also protest demonstrations staged in Moscow by his supporters.

Golunov, a 36-year-old investigative reporter with Meduza, an independent Russian-language media outlet, was detained last week over allegations that he manufactured and dealt drugs.

The head of human rights organisation Agora, Pavel Chikov, told Russian news agencies Golunov was thought to have a concussion and a broken rib.

After his detention on Thursday Golunov told a representative of Russia's presidential rights council, which advises Vladimir Putin that police had punched him and stood on his chest.

Chikov has strenuously denied the charges and Meduza editors accused police of fabricating the case against Golunov to punish him for his investigations into high-level corruption among Moscow officials.

The journalist was officially charged on Saturday morning with attempting illegally to produce, sell or pass on drugs.

Police detained four people, an AFP video journalist saw.

He reporter had been on his capability to meet one more journalist on Thursday when he became once stopped and searched by officers.

His lawyer, Dmitry Dzhulai, said that his client hasn't slept or eaten in two days, and that he is covered with abrasions sustained during police processing. Ms Dinze has filed a complaint with Russia's Investigative Committee.

Meduza believes Golunov's persecution is connected with his professional activities.

In an open letter, hundreds of Russian journalists demanded Golunov's immediate release.

Mr Golunov's mother, Svetlana Golunova, told Reuters the arrest was "no longer even a farce, it is one thing unbelievable", and she expected "absolute most life like victory".

Drugs convictions can carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

"This is revenge for Ivan Golunov's investigations".

But many journalists suspect the arrest was retribution for Golunov's investigative work.

The journalist has continuously exposed corruption among Moscow's excessive-profile businesspeople and its political elite, as effectively as faux monetary schemes in the metropolis.

Reporters Without Borders warned his arrest could mark "a significant escalation in the persecution" of independent journalists in Russian Federation.

While journalists at Russia's dwindling number of independent media resources frequently face criminal probes, physical attacks and official pressure, drugs accusations are not common.

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