20:51 GMT28 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - An estimated 1,200 people took part in an unauthorised protest in Moscow on Wednesday to demand that those who are believed to have planted narcotics on journalist Golunov and tried to frame him on drug possession charges be brought to justice, the Interior Ministry stated.

    The Russian Interior Ministry stated that over 200 demonstrators had been detained in Moscow during unauthorised rallies in support of investiagtive journalist Ivan Golunov . 

    On the same day, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova voiced her concern with Golunov's case saying that it has highlighted a number of important issues about existing detention procedures. 

    "I would like not only Ivan Golunov but all people who fall into the judicial and investigative system to be protected. This case highlighted a number of important issues. The first issue [is that people have] the right to protection at the stage of detention. [Another issue is that] one must not use force [during detention] in any case. Force is only used when there is a lack of professionalism," Moskalkova said.

    The ombudswoman also noted that President Vladimir Putin had been informed about all the details of the case and had given all necessary instructions.

    Golunov, who is known for covering cases related to corruption, was arrested on 6 June after police found drugs in his possession. More narcotics were later found in his apartment.

    The journalist insisted that he had been framed, and the drugs had been planted but was put under house arrest, nonetheless. The protesters were initially going to demand Golunov's release, but the charges against the journalist were dropped on Tuesday over lack of evidence against him.

    "About 1,200 people took part in an unauthorized public event. More than 200 people have been detained for committing administrative offences," a spokesperson for the ministry said.

    The journalist himself decided against attending the unauthorized rally.

    Golunov's case has also sparked debates over the need to reform the law on drug possession in Russia, which, critics, say, have been used to silence opposition figures and truth-seeking journalists. According to a Russian lawmaker, a bill easing punishment for possessing drugs for personal use may soon be introduced to parliament.


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