Espionage allegations against reporters: Russia extends Gershkovich’s detention again

Espionage allegations against reporters
Russia extends Gershkovich’s pre-trial detention again

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Wall Street Journal reporter Gershkovich has been in custody in Russia for almost eight months. The US government and his employer are demanding his immediate release. However, a Moscow court has now extended his prison term again.

A Moscow court has once again extended the pre-trial detention on charges of espionage against US journalist Evan Gershkovich. The Lefortovo District Court announced that it will now apply for another two months until January 30th. Gershkovich was arrested on March 29 in Yekaterinburg in the Urals by the domestic secret service FSB.

According to the allegations, the Wall Street Journal reporter is said to have collected state secrets about a military-industrial complex. The pre-trial detention was only extended by three months in August. Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison. He denies the allegations. Gershkovich is the first US journalist to be imprisoned in Russia on suspicion of espionage since the end of the Cold War. The US government and the Wall Street Journal again called for Gershkovich’s immediate release. “Evan has now been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 250 days, and every day is a day too long,” the newspaper said.

The allegations are false and his continued detention is a blatant and outrageous attack on press freedom. The US Embassy in Moscow said: “We are deeply concerned about the court’s decision.” Gershkovich has failed several times in court to challenge his detention. Diplomats say Russia could seek a prisoner exchange with the US.

However, Russia has said there can be no exchange in the Gershkovich case until a verdict is reached. However, no date for his trial has been announced yet. Gershkovich grew up in the state of New Jersey as the son of Soviet émigrés and speaks fluent Russian. He moved to Moscow in 2017 to work for the English-language “Moscow Times”.

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