Evan Gershkovich’s wrongful detention in Russia is extended yet again

August 24, 2023

A Moscow court ruled Thursday that U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich must stay behind bars in Russia until the end of November. 

Gershkovich was arrested in March. Russia’s FSB security services claimed that 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. 

Both Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal deny the allegations against him.

In April the U.S. State Department designated 31-year-old Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained” which shifts supervision of that person’s 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.

On Thursday, Russian state news agency TASS reported that Gershkovich arrived at the Moscow court in a white prison van and was led out in handcuffs but wearing jeans and sneakers. He appeared in court to hear the result of the prosecution’s motion to extend his arrest from his previous detention, which was until August 30.

Journalists outside the court were not allowed to witness the proceedings, with Tass asserting that details of Gershkovich’s criminal case are classified.

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited with Gershkovich for a third time since his arrest and reported that he appeared to be in good health, despite being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center, which is notorious for its harsh conditions. 

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War. In September 1986, Nicholas Daniloff who reported from Moscow for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB, the Soviet Union’s precursor to the FSB.

PHOTO Source: evangershkovich.com

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