Russia detains ex-policemen for planting drugs on reporter

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 29 2020 06:28 PM

MOSCOW - Russian investigators said Wednesday they had detained five former police officers as part of a probe into the high-profile arrest of reporter Ivan Golunov on trumped-up drug charges.

The ex-members of a drug enforcement unit in western Moscow were "currently being questioned," said the Investigative Committee, which deals with major crime.

Golunov, a journalist with Meduza, an independent news site based in EU member Latvia, was arrested after police planted drugs on him last June, in what was widely seen as punishment for his work.

He had been charged with attempted drug dealing and faced up to 20 years in prison. 

The investigative reporter was released days later, and charges against him dropped, after supporters, including many influential journalists, mounted an unprecedented public campaign in his defense.

President Vladimir Putin has sacked two senior police officers over Golunov's arrest and wide-reaching questions have been asked about how Russian police operate.