MOSCOW (AP) — Five former Russian police officers were convicted Friday on charges of fabricating evidence in the 2019 drug arrest of a prominent investigative journalist.

Ivan Golunov of the independent Meduza online news outlet was arrested in Moscow on drug-dealing charges that he rejected as a sham. The journalist argued the drugs found in his backpack and his apartment were planted by police in retaliation for his investigations of corruption in Moscow’s law enforcement agencies.

The charges against Golunov were dropped several days later after mass protests in the Russian capital. Golunov and his Meduza colleagues had since pushed for the prosecution of the individuals behind his arrest.

The Moscow City Court convicted the former officers of abuse of authority, fabrication of evidence and drug possession. All but one of them had denied the charges.

The court sentenced the former officers, who have been in custody since their January 2020 arrests, to prison terms of five to 12 years and ordered them to pay Golunov damages.