Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against the police officers who arrested Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov. Golunov was arrested on June 6, 2019, when he said police planted drugs on him and framed him for intent to distribute. Though he was released on June 11 following a major solidarity campaign, efforts on the part of Golunov’s legal team to apprehend the police officers involved in his arrest met with stagnation for several months.
The Investigative Committee notified Golunov of the case against the officers in a December 18 letter. On December 19, President Vladimir Putin confirmed that a case had been opened, but he did not name the charges involved. On January 13, Golunov posted a photograph of the letter he received on Telegram. It indicated that the arresting officers will face charges of exceeding their authority.
The police officers who took part in Golunov’s arrest were Roman Feofanov, Maxim Umetbayev, Akbar Sergaliev, Denis Konovalov, and Igor Lyakhovets. Their commander was Colonel Andrei Shchirov, who led the drug division in Moscow’s Western Administrative District. Igor Lopatin, an investigator in the same district, led the prosecution of Golunov.