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Kremlin says ‘carefully monitoring’ case of arrested reporter

June 10, 2019

The Kremlin said Monday it was carefully monitoring the case of arrested reporter Ivan Golunov and admitted it threw up a “great number of questions”.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov however defended the law enforcement system in general, saying people make mistakes in separate cases.

“We are carefully monitoring how this case is developing,” Peskov told reporters.

“This concrete case has triggered a great number of questions.”

Golunov, a 36-year-old investigative reporter with Meduza, an independent Russian-language media outlet, was detained last week over allegations that he manufactured and dealt drugs.

He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

His defence and supporters say the drugs had been planted on him to punish him for his investigations.

Golunov’s prompted an unprecedented show of solidarity among Russian journalists, with three top dailies publishing the same front page on Monday.

Observers say Golunov’s case has put the Kremlin in an uncomfortable situation, forcing the authorities to either side with law enforcement agencies or the journalist’s supporters.

Asked to comment on the widespread lack of trust in the work of law enforcement agencies, Peskov sought to defend it.

“I believe it would be wrong to make general conclusions about the mistrust towards the entire system based on his case,” he said.

But Peskov said mistakes can happen.

“People work everywhere,” he said. “The most important thing is to admit mistakes and explain how they happened and no longer repeat them.”

He expressed hope that the General Prosecutor’s Office would look into whether the police committed violations during Golunov’s detention.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.