Lord George Foulkes (United Kingdom, SOC), General Rapporteur on media freedom and the safety of journalists for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has today expressed concern over police actions against prominent Russian journalist Ivan Golunov, who is well known for his work investigating corruption among Russian officials.
Police arrested the journalist on 6 June on “drug-dealing charges” that he claims were fabricated; a recent test has now reportedly confirmed that there were no traces of drugs found on him. During the interrogation he was physically assaulted by the police, after which police refused to call medics to address the injuries that he had sustained. He was deprived of his right to call his lawyer or colleagues more than 12 hours after his arrest.
If convicted, the journalist could face a sentence of up to 20 years.
“I call on Moscow prosecutors to promptly review the legality of police actions,” said Lord Foulkes. “I am in total solidarity with the European Federation of Journalists and so many prominent Russian journalists, who are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent, and that the main purpose of this police operation is to silence him and intimidate all journalists investigating the corruption of Russian officials. I call on the Russian authorities to immediately release Ivan Golunov, and to avoid any similar acts having disastrous effect on the freedom of the press in this country”, Lord Foulkes added.
“This case is being monitored by the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. No reaction from the Russian authorities has so far been received,” the General Rapporteur concluded.