4 Jul 2019 14:18

Moscow City Court explains why decision on journalist Golunov's house arrest wasn't reversed

MOSCOW. July 4 (Interfax) - The Moscow City Court did not reverse a lower court's decision to put Meduza journalist Ivan Golunov under house arrest "due to the absence of an object of appeal."

"Golunov's house arrest was lifted due to the dropping of criminal charges against him, and therefore there was no object of appeal at the moment the appeal was considered," the Moscow City Court said in its appeal decision obtained by Interfax.

On June 14, the Moscow City Court terminated the proceedings on the appeal filed by the defense lawyers against the decision made by the Moscow Nikulinsky District Court, which had put Golunov under house arrest.

Before the Moscow City Court hearing, the prosecutor had asked for the defense lawyers' appeal not to be considered as the criminal charges had been dropped, Golunov's house arrest had been lifted and "there is no object of judicial control anymore."

Golunov's defense lawyers, in turn, had asked for the court decision to be reversed, according to the Moscow City Court decision.

"According to the appeal, preliminary investigation bodies have not provided and the court has not studied evidence that Golunov may hide from court and investigators, continue engaging in criminal activities, threaten criminal proceedings participants, or obstruct the criminal proceedings in any other way," the document said.

According to earlier reports, Golunov said following the Moscow City Court hearing that he would seek the reversal of the Nikulinsky District Court decision "in order for the judicial system to approach decisions on such articles more responsibly in the future."

Golunov, a correspondent of the Latvia-based Russian-language online media outlet Meduza, was detained by police officers on Moscow's Tsvetnoi Boulevard on June 6. The Moscow police department reported finding drugs on Golunov and in his apartment. The journalist was charged with an attempt to sell a large amount of drugs. The Moscow Nikulinsky District Court ordered his house arrest on June 8.

The criminal charges against Golunov were dropped due to his non-involvement in the crime amid a broad public campaign in his support on June 11. The journalist was released from house arrest.

Golunov said the drugs had been planted on him and his prosecution was connected to his material on the funeral business on which he was working before his detention.