Wed, 24 Jul 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired two police generals over a drug-trafficking case launched against investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was released on June 11 amid a public outcry and claims that the case against him was fabricated.

The Kremlin press service said on June 13 that Putin dismissed Major General Yury Devyatkin, the head of the Moscow police department's drug-control directorate, and Major General Andrei Puchkov, the police chief in Moscow's West administrative region.

Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev had said on June 11 that he would ask Putin to fire the two senior police officials over the Golunov case.

Kolokoltsev also said all charges against Golunov, a 36-year-old journalist who works for the Latvia-based online journal Meduza, were dropped because 'the alleged crime has not been proven.'

Golunov's arrest on June 6 outraged many Russian journalists and human rights activists. He was known for investigative reports about corruption among top Moscow city officials and others.

On June 12, several hundred people marched through central Moscow in an unsanctioned protest aimed at maintaining pressure on authorities over Golunov's case.

OVD-Info, an independent group that monitors police crackdowns against demonstrations in Russia, says at least 513 demonstrators were detained.

It says at least seven were charged with violating a law on holding public events. They face sentences of up to 15 days in jail.

With reporting by OVD-Info

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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