Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed about detained Meduza investigative journalist Ivan Golunov while he was in Saint Petersburg last week. Peskov made the comment during a conference call with journalists in Moscow on Monday.
He went on to say that “considering the significance” of the case, the Kremlin is “closely following it.”
Peskov also mentioned that Golunov’s “specific case” has brought up “a large number of questions,” adding, however, that it would be “wrong to make conclusions about the lack of confidence in the whole system” taking into consideration only this particular case. It is believed that Peskov was referring to staff at the Interior Ministry publishing photos that did not relate to Golunov’s case. An internal probe has reportedly been launched.
According to a statement made by the Moscow police, the Meduza journalist was arrested on Thursday on charges of drug trafficking. According to the police, Golunov was stopped and searched while walking along the city’s central Tsvetnoy Boulevard on Thursday afternoon and found carrying four grams of amphetamine mephedrone in his rucksack. Later on, a criminal case was opened and Golunov was accused of dealing drugs.
He faces up to 20 years behind bars if found guilty. He denies the charges.