- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly intervened personally in the case of jailed investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, who was freed Tuesday after large public protests, Russian news outlets reported Wednesday.

Mr. Golunov had been detained on drug trafficking charges that were widely condemned as a ploy by authorities to silence the critic. His release is being hailed as a rare victory for press freedoms in a country with increasing state control of the leading media outlets.

The Moscow Times reported that Dmitry Muratov, former editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, said Mr. Putin took a personal interest in the case after meeting with Human Rights Ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova, who told Mr. Putin about the details of the case.

“The political leadership of the country made the right decision,” Mr. Muratov said.

Russia’s Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said he would ask Mr. Putin to dismiss senior police officials involved in the investigation.

On Monday, three Russian newspapers published identical headlines on the front page to protest his detention. Mr. Golunov is known for his investigations into corruption of Moscow city officials.

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