Russia to charge five former policemen with framing prominent reporter

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia arrested five former police officers on Wednesday on suspicion of planting drugs on a prominent journalist last year to frame him.

Police quickly dropped drug dealing charges against Ivan Golunov after his arrest last June triggered protests by supporters who said police had set him up because of his investigative reporting.

President Vladimir Putin fired two police generals over the case, but supporters of Golunov, who is known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, have demanded the police officers involved be jailed.

On Wednesday, the Investigative Committee, which handles major crimes, said it had taken five former Moscow policemen into custody and that it would charge them with planting drugs in Golunov’s rucksack and at his home in order to set him up.

It said the officers, whom it identified by name and were all part of Moscow’s anti-drug police force, had also illegally obtained the drugs and stored and transported them illegally.

Golunov welcomed the announcement and said he hoped the case would go to court.

“The initiation of the criminal case that I have been seeking for so long with the support of the media and society has happened and this is very good,” Golunov was quoted as saying by the RBC media holding.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Gareth Jones)