Russian police said on Tuesday they were dropping a criminal case against Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist charged with drug offences, and that he would be freed from house arrest later on Tuesday, the RIA news agency reported, according to Reuters.
From his side Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, on Tuesday called the case against Golunov a "very bad story," the Interfax news agency reported.
The comments, by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, are likely to encourage supporters of Golunov who believe he was framed and have organised protests demanding the charges against him be dropped.
Moreover, the Russian interior minister said the police officers who him have been suspended pending internal investigation, Reuters reported Tuesday.
The case against Golunov, who was detained last week, has sparked widespread anger among Russian journalists and prominent cultural figures who said he had been crudely framed.