Russia: Protest held in Moscow over arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov

Russia: Protest held in Moscow over arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov”

"We are convinced that Ivan Golunov is innocent".

Police detained investigative journalist Golunov on Thursday after finding in his possession five packages of a powdery substance, which then turned out to be mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant.

During his two decades in power, President Vladimir Putin has silenced most of his critics and muzzled the media.

He faces up to 20 years behind bars if found guilty of drug trafficking.

Golunov is known for his anti-corruptions into the rich and powerful in Russian Federation.

Golunov's lawyer says he was assaulted and punched by police officers, something which they deny.

"We demand that the law be observed by everyone and for everyone", they said. The dailies said they did not consider the evidence presented by investigators to be convincing.

Since Friday, Russians have held one-person pickets in front of Moscow's police headquarters - the only form of protest that does not require prior approval from Russian authorities.

Golunov was released from pre-trial jail at the weekend and placed under house arrest after hundreds of supporters gathered outside a Moscow courtroom.

As well as Russian media, Golunov has provoked outrage from worldwide media and statements of concern from European Union and the United States.

In Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters, "We are following the current situation in Russian Federation very closely and with great interest and attention".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the case had raised "many questions" and that the government monitoring the developments.

She and British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are hosting an global conference on media freedom in London in mid-July.

"This will be the first of what becomes an annual event", Ms. Freeland continued, adding Canada has committed to hosting the second conference next year.

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