Russian dailies publish same front page over reporter's arrest

Ivan Golunov in a Moscow court room

Ivan Golunov leaves the cage in a court room in Moscow Russia

"Following biological, forensic, fingerprint and genetic tests, a decision has been made to drop the criminal case against journalist Ivan Golunov for lack of evidence proving his involvement in the crime in question".

The journalist is well-known in Russian Federation for investigating corruption especially among Moscow city officials and in his work he has threatened the interests of many powerful individuals. The 36-year-old is set to be freed from house arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a statement by the Moscow police, the Meduza journalist was arrested on Thursday on charges of drug trafficking.

Dozens of people gathered outside Russian Interior Ministry's Moscow office on Friday to protest against the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov.

The reporter could have faced up to 20 years in prison if he had been tried and convicted.

In a show of rare solidarity, Russia's three major newspapers on Monday put out almost identical front pages to support the detained journalist.

Meduza news project journalist Ivan Golunov attends pre-trial court hearing at Nikulinsky court in Moscow.

Given the gravity of the accusations the decision is being seen by supporters as a sign that they are anxious about the outcry.

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Celebrities and even some high-profile journalists at state media have spoken out for Mr. Golunov, criticizing either the accusations against him or the harsh manner of his detention.

"This story is not good, really", Matviyenko told reporters on Tuesday.

During his two decades in power, Putin has silenced most of his critics and sought to muzzle the media. The case is also being closely watched by the Kremlin, the president's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, adding that there are "questions that need to be clarified". The few opposition and independent media that still operate in Russian Federation are under huge pressure, Kremlin critics say.

"Police and security services have declared war against us", the front page of opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta read on Monday.

Speaking to Reuters after last week's arrest, he said his client had been beaten, and police had refused to take swabs from his hands or rucksack or to take fingernail samples - all of which would have provided evidence of whether or not he had been in contact with drugs.

Golunov's treatment was condemned by figures across a wide spectrum of Russian society, including Kremlin-loyal media.

"Why would they otherwise deny him access to his lawyer and refuse to carry out decisive tests?"

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