American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested in Russia, officially accused of “espionage”

American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested in Russia last week, has been formally charged with” spying “ Friday, April 7, an accusation he rejects “categorically”, Russian news agencies reported. This notification paves the way for a trial, the date of which has not yet been announced.

According to Interfax, Mr. Gershkovich, a correspondent for the wall street journal who also worked for Agence France-Presse in the past, is being prosecuted under article 276 of the Russian criminal code, a charge punishable by twenty years in prison.

The authorities have “accused Gershkovich of spying on behalf of his country. He categorically denied all charges and said his activities in Russia were journalistic.reported the agency TASS, citing an anonymous source within the security forces.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The arrest for spying of a foreign journalist in Russia, a first in the recent history of the country

Money change

The reporter was arrested last week by the Russian security services (FSB) while reporting in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. The authorities accused him, among other things, of collecting information on the defense industry. The United States and the wall street journal dismissed the espionage charges and called on the Kremlin to release the 31-year-old journalist, a US citizen of Russian origin.

THE daily again denounced, on Friday, charges “ totally false and unjustified”in a statement. “We will continue to demand the immediate release of Evan”adds the Wall Street Journal.

The arrest of Evan Gershkovich is part of the hardening of the repression against the press in Russia since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, which has greatly strained relations between Moscow and Washington.

It also follows a December prisoner swap between American basketball star Brittney Griner, who was in Russian custody, and Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, a prisoner in the United States. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of arbitrarily arresting Americans to use them as bargaining chips and recover Russians detained in the United States.

Read also the collective forum of the twenty-two main directors of the French media: Russia: “Keeping Evan Gershkovich in detention amounts to hostage taking”

The World with AFP

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