House Introduces Resolution Calling on Russia to Release U.S. Journalist

May 10, 2023

A House committee on Tuesday introduced a resolution that would call on Russia to free imprisoned U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich.

Arrested on March 29, Russia’s intel agency FSB accused Gershkovich, who reports for the Wall Street Journal, of “collecting classified information about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military industrial complex.”

Despite the Russian Foreign Ministry and the FSB acknowledging that Gershkovich is an accredited journalist in Russia, the 31-year-old American has been charged with espionage, which carries a potential prison sentence in Russia of up to 20 years. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul is now leading a bipartisan effort to call on Russia to release Gershkovich. A strong bipartisan vote could add back-up to the Biden Administration’s efforts to secure the journalist’s release. 

In April, the State Department designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” which shifted his case to a specialized State Department section, called the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. That department is focused on negotiating for the release of captives.

“Russia has no grounds to hold Evan Gershkovich prisoner. He’s an innocent American journalist,” said McCaul in a statement Wednesday.

Senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, joined in the statement, along with two other lawmakers who oversee European affairs, Rep. Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA). 

The resolution demands Moscow release Mr. Gershkovich immediately and to provide him unfettered to U.S. consular access during his imprisonment. 

The resolution also urges the Biden Administration to bring up his detention with Russian officials and calls for the release of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was arrested in 2018 and is serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian penal colony on what his family says are fabricated charges of spying.

“We applaud the bipartisan support from Congress to bring Evan home,” said Almar Latour, chief executive of Dow Jones and publisher of the Journal. “He must be immediately released. His wrongful detention is outrageous and a blow to free press.”

PHOTO: LinkedIn

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