Journalist says Russian police broke his ribs and gave him concussion

Russia detains campaigning journalist on ‘drug charges’ as his lawyer says police beat him, broke his ribs and gave him concussion during arrest

  • Ivan Golunov has reported on unscrupulous landlords and shady businessmen
  • He was arrested in Moscow on Thursday on drugs charges, which he denies
  • His lawyers have alleged police brutality in custody left Golunov with a black eye, fractured ribs, and a possible concussion

A campaigning Russian journalist was beaten so badly by police he was left with a concussion and broken ribs, his lawyer has said.

The lawyer for Ivan Golunov, who was detained on charges of drug dealing, has filed a complaint that accuses police of using violence against the prominent reporter, a human rights group reported.

Police refuted claims that Golunov was beaten after his Thursday arrest.

Golunov, who has denied using or possessing drugs, was examined in a hospital Saturday and found to have abrasions on his back and a bruise around one eye. 

Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov was arrested on June 6 on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute

A court released him into house arrest later in the day.

The complaint lawyer Olga Dinze lodged with Russia’s Investigative Committee alleges the journalist was subjected to ‘unmotivated physical violence’ while in custody, according to Pavel Chikov, the head of human rights group Agora head, said Sunday in a post on the Telegram messaging service.

The case has attracted wide attention in Russia and abroad, reflecting concerns Golunov might have been arrested because of his work.

Topics he covered for the Meduza website include on unscrupulous lenders evicting people from their residences and an organization’s alleged attempts to take over the Russian funeral business.

A rally against Meduza investigative journalist Ivan Golunov’s detention gathers outside Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court

Ivan Golunov, investigative journalist of the online newspaper Meduza, attends an arrest warrant hearing at Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court

Claims by the police that Golounov was intoxicated upon arrest have since unravelled

Protesters called for his release during rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg. A small group also demonstrated in New York City to show support for Golunov on Saturday, when the U.S. Embassy in Moscow argued for his release.

‘We join the Russian media community and call for the release of Ivan Golunov, and conducting a thorough and open investigation of this case,’ the embassy tweeted. ‘Like any other journalist, Golunov should not be persecuted due to his professional activities.’

Suspicions that Golunov may have been set up have been bolstered by an array of misinformation on the case.

Russian state TV reported Sunday that authorities found Golunov intoxicated when they arrived at his home to arrest him. But it later said a medical report showed no evidence of his intoxication.

When police announced the arrest Friday, they released photographs showing bags containing a white substance and big empty bottles suggestive of a makeshift drug lab. They later said the photos were published in error.

On Sunday, state news channel Rossiya-24 broadcast a man it identified as a police official saying the images were from a separate investigation.


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