Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appears in Moscow court to appeal against his extended detention on espionage charges as Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister considers US request to visit him
- Evan Gershkovich was arrested in late March while on a reporting trip to Russia
- A Moscow court agreed last month to keep him in custody until August 30
A Wall Street Journal reporter detained on espionage charges in Russia has appeared in court to appeal his extended detention.
U.S. citizen Evan Gershkovich was arrested in late March while on a reporting trip.
A Moscow court agreed last month to keep the 31-year-old in custody until August 30. Defense lawyers challenged the decision, and the Moscow City Court is scheduled to hear the appeal on Thursday.
Gershkovich and his employer have denied he spied in Russia. The U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained and demanded his immediate release.
His arrest in the city of Yekaterinburg rattled journalists in Russia, where authorities have not detailed what, if any, evidence they have gathered to support the espionage charges.
Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter detained on espionage charges in Russia, appears in court today to appeal his extended detention
Gershkovich is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, which is notorious for its harsh conditions. U.S. Embassy officials were allowed to visit him once, but Russian authorities rejected two other requests to see him.
READ MORE: Russia EXTENDS Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich’s detention by three months after accusing him of being a spy
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters on Thursday that the ministry is considering another visit request from the embassy.
The U.S. ambassador has been able to visit the reporter only once since he was arrested in March and accused by the FSB security service of collecting military secrets in the city of Yekaterinburg. He denies the charges.
‘These charges are completely bogus. They are vehemently denied by the Wall Street Journal, by the U.S. government, by his family. The Russians have produced absolutely no evidence whatsoever,’ WSJ editor in chief Emma Tucker told the BBC.
The Kremlin has said Gershkovich was caught ‘red-handed’ but has not provided details to support the assertion.
If convicted, the journalist faces a sentence of up to 20 years.
On Thursday’s hearing, Tucker said her expectations were low.
‘If I’m being perfectly honest, we don’t expect anything to come of this but it’s really, really important to go through the process,’ she said.
Pictures from the courtroom on Thursday showed Gershkovich inside a glass cage, his arms crossed. He has a wry smile, as if in disbelief of the situation.
Gershkovich is being held at a time when relations between Washington and Moscow are at the lowest point since the Cold War because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Gershkovich and his employer have denied he spied in Russia. The U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained and demanded his immediate release
The United States has called him ‘wrongfully detained,’ a term used by the State Department to deem the charges bogus and the arrest politically motivated.
Tucker said the ‘really horrifying’ thing about Gershkovich’s case was that it had become part of the geopolitical confrontation between the two countries.
‘Whatever it takes to get Evan out is going to be a very complicated puzzle. To be honest, the American government don’t have that much leverage any more, essentially they are helping Russia’s enemy fight a war against it.
‘So things are difficult,’ she said.
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