Russian court rejects appeals by US reporter

By Reuters
April 24, 2024
Evan Gershkovich on camera in a Wall Street Journal interview. — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

MOSCOW: A Russian court on Tuesday rejected the latest in a series of appeals by Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against his pre-trial detention on charges of espionage.


Gershkovich, 32, became the first U.S. journalist arrested on spying charges in Russia since the Cold War when he was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 last year. He, his newspaper and the U.S. government all deny he is a spy.

No date has yet been set for his trial. His detention was last month extended by three months to June 30 in a hearing that was closed to the press. But on Tuesday journalists were allowed to film Gershkovich as he stood in a glass box in the courtroom and smiled and waved at media colleagues.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Gershkovich replied “All clear” when asked by the judge whether he understood the court’s decision.

The newspaper said in a statement: “It continues to be outrageous that Evan has been wrongfully detained by the Russian government for more than a year.”

It added: “Evan’s freedom is long overdue, and we urge the (Biden) administration to do everything in their power to secure his release.”

Gershkovich, who was accredited by the Russian Foreign Ministry to work in Russia as a journalist, was arrested during a trip to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

He has been held for more than a year at Moscow’s high-security Lefortovo prison, which is closely associated with the FSB. The United States has accused Russia of using him for the purpose of “hostage diplomacy”.