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Moscow Court Places Reporter Golunov Under House Arrest for Pending Drug Charges

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Nikulinsky district court of Moscow rejected on Saturday a warrant to place Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, recently detained on suspicion of drug offences, in custody, and ruled for house arrest as a measure of restraint, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the courtroom.

Police detained Golunov on Thursday after finding five packets of a powdery substance in his possession, which later tests found to be mephedrone. The Russian Interior Ministry said on Friday that police found cocaine in Golunov’s Moscow flat. Golunov maintains that the drugs were planted.

READ MORE: Russian Reporter Golunov Charged With Attempting to Sell Drugs Taken to Hospital – Lawyer

"To choose a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest", the judge said.

Under the ruling, Golunov remain under house arrest until 7 August.

The journalist was set free in the courtroom.

'Meduza' correspondent Ivan Golunov - Sputnik International
Russian Journo Detained in Moscow Over Drug Possession ‘Provocation’ - Lawyer
During the court hearing, Golunov asked the judge not to arrest him, stressing that he had never done drugs.

"I'm ready to prove my innocence. I am ready to cooperate with the investigation if it plays by fair rules", he said, addressing the judge.

Chairman of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, said that Golunov, famous for his investigations into corruption cases, might have been detained due to his journalistic work.

Both the head of the Moscow Police Oleg Baranov and Moscow Ombudswoman Tatyana Potyayeva have said they will closely monitor Golunov's case.

READ MORE: Three Sailors Test Positive for Cocaine, Get Booted Off Royal Navy Nuclear Sub

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