U.S. Journalist Evan Gershkovich to Stay in Russian Detention At Least Until Late August

June 22, 2023

A Moscow court ruled on Thursday that U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich must stay in jail at least until late August, upholding an earlier ruling.

Arrested on March 29, Russia’s intel agency FSB said Gershkovich, who reports for the Wall Street Journal, “was 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. 

The Moscow City Court’s ruling to hold Gershkovich behind bars until August 30 was an extension of his initial detention by three months. Gershkovich had appealed that extension, but on Thursday he lost that appeal.

Gershkovich’s parents and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy attended Thursday’s hearing. Tracy told reporters afterward that “Evan continues to show remarkable strength and resilience in these very difficult circumstances.”

Russian authorities have not revealed what evidence they have gathered to support the espionage charges—or if they have any evidence at all.

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.

In May, the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced a resolution that would call on Russia to free Gershkovich immediately. A strong bipartisan vote could add back-up to the Biden Administration’s efforts to secure the journalist’s release. 

Gershkovich is the first U.S. journalist to be detained in Russia on spying charges since the Cold War.

PHOTO: LinkedIn

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