MOSCOW COURT EXTENDS DETENTION OF REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH ON ESPIONAGE CHARGES
On Tuesday, a Moscow court reportedly prolonged the detention of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich until January, extending
On Tuesday, a Moscow court reportedly prolonged the detention of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich until January, extending his period of custody by an additional two months until January 30. The 32-year-old US reporter had been arrested in late March in Russia on charges of espionage, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years.
The accusations against Gershkovich, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service, suggest that he “acted on the instructions of the American side, collecting information deemed a state secret about the operations of a Russian military-industrial complex enterprise.” The hearing took place behind closed doors, barring press access, with authorities asserting that the case details are classified.
Notably, Russia has not publicly presented any evidence supporting the charges against Gershkovich. Both the journalist and his employer, as well as the US government, have vehemently denied the allegations. The Wall Street Journal contended that Gershkovich was “arbitrarily and wrongfully detained for doing his job as a journalist” and reiterated that journalism is not a crime.
US President Joe Biden had previously characterized Gershkovich’s detention as “totally illegal.” Analysts suggest that Moscow may be leveraging detained Americans as diplomatic bargaining chips amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia, particularly in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The recent exchange involving WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was released along with another American in exchange for Russians imprisoned in the US, underscores this dynamic.
However, Moscow has indicated that any potential exchange for Gershkovich would only be considered after the conclusion of his legal proceedings, which could extend beyond a year.
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