5 Feb 2020 12:43

Moscow Western Administrative District prosecution service apologizes to Golunov for wrongful indictment - Prosecutor General's Office

MOSCOW. Feb 5 (Interfax) - The prosecution service of the Moscow Western Administrative District has formally apologized to journalist Ivan Golunov for wrongfully indicting him on charges of drug possession, a spokesperson for the Russian Prosecutor General's Office told Interfax.

"The prosecution service of the Moscow Western Administrative District has formally apologized to journalist Ivan Golunov for his wrongful indictment," the spokesperson said.

Earlier, the defense team for Meduza journalist Golunov complained to the prosecutor general and demanded an apology for the wrongful indictment, lawyer Sergei Badamshin told Interfax.

Badamshin said on Tuesday that a similar complaint filed in January was directed by the Prosecutor General's Office to the Moscow prosecution service in order "to verify the applicant's arguments."

In Badamshin's opinion, the Prosecutor General's Office, which is overseeing the criminal case originally opened against Golunov and currently designating his arresting officers as defendants, must apologize to the journalist.

Just as before, Badamshin is demanding that the inactivity of prosecutors be recognized as unlawful and that a formal apology be offered to Golunov. He thinks the prosecution service should have done this last summer, no later than a month after charges were dropped.

Golunov was detained on June 6, 2019, and was charged with attempting to sell drugs. The criminal charges against the journalist were dropped on June 11, amid a wide public campaign in support of him. Golunov said the drugs had been planted on him and the criminal case was the result of journalistic material on the funeral business that he had been working on before his detention.

The Golunov case was initially investigated by Moscow police. After the journalist was released, the Moscow Main Police Directorate opened a probe into the officials who detained Golunov in connection with the same drugs case. The case was sent to the Investigative Committee by decision of the Prosecutor General's Office in June 2019.

Five former officers of the Moscow Western Administrative District police department who arrested Golunov and investigated his case were detained in January and charged with exceeding their authority through use of violence and special means, causing serious damage, tampering with evidence, and illegally possessing large amounts of drugs. A court placed them under arrest.

Golunov has been formally recognized as the victim in the former police officers' case.