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Evan Gershkovich: Russia extends pre-trial detention

March 26, 2024

The Wall Street Journal reporter accused by Moscow of spying has been ordered to remain behind bars. Gershkovich was arrested in March 2023.

US Journalist Evan Gershkovich pictured at his latest court appearance in Moscow
US Journalist Evan Gershkovich has been held in pre-trial detention since late March 2023 on charges of espionageImage: Moscow City Court Press Service/AP Photo/picture alliance

A court in Moscow on Tuesday ordered Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich to remain in pre-trial detention for another three months.

The 32-year-old US citizen was arrested in March 2023 on charges of espionage while on a reporting trip, which both he and his employer deny.

Friday marks the first anniversary since Gershkovich's arrest in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

Charges 'categorically untrue' — US ambassador

US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy attended court proceedings and reiterated that "the accusations against Evan are categorically untrue."

"They are not a different interpretation of circumstances. They are fiction," Tracy told reporters outside of the courthouse.

"Evan's case is not about evidence, due process or rule of law. It is about using American citizens as pawns to achieve political ends," Tracy said.

Washington has accused Moscow of arresting US citizens on baseless charges to use them as leverage to secure the release of Russians convicted abroad.

The WSJ journalist is the first American reporter to be arrested on charges of spying in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff was arrested by the KGB.

US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was also detained last year for failing to register as a "foreign agent." 

Russia accuses US reporter of spying

Russia's case against Gershkovich

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) alleges that Gershkovich had acted on the instructions of the US and collected information about the activities of one of the enterprises of Russia's military-industrial complex which it said constituted a state secret.

Russia claims it caught Gershkovich "red-handed," although it has not publicly provided any evidence of the charges being made against him.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in December that he hoped there could be prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington in the cases of Gershkovich and US Marine veteran Paul Whelan, a former US marine who was handed a 16-year prison sentence in Russia over alleged spying.

kb/wmr (Reuters AP)