WASHINGTON — A Russian court on Tuesday extended the pretrial detention of American journalist Evan Gershkovich by about three months, until Aug. 30.
The Wall Street Journal reporter was detained in Yekaterinburg in March on espionage charges, a charge he, his employer and the U.S. government deny.If convicted, he could face 20 years in prison.
“In accordance with the decision of the Moscow Lefortovsky District Court dated May 23, 2023, the period of detention of Evan Gershkovich charged with crimes under Article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was extended by three months and by one day, i.e. until August 30, 2023 ,” the court ruling read.
The decision came after a Moscow court persist in Gershkovic in pretrial detention in April.
The Wall Street Journal said in an article statement Gershkovic appeared at a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday. “While we do not expect any change in the circumstances surrounding Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed,” the newspaper said. “These allegations are clearly false, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
Last month, the Biden administration Specified Gershkovic was wrongfully detained, and referring his case to the State Department’s Office of the Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs would allow the government to use more resources to secure his release.
Gershkovich’s colleagues at the Wall Street Journal reacted to the court’s ruling on Twitter.
“This is a very disappointing development as we continue to wait for justice for our @wsj colleagues,” wrote Reporter Melissa Cohen.
“Release Evan now,” tweets Reporter Joe Flint.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called for Gershkovich’s release statement World Press Freedom Day.
“Too many governments have used repression to suppress free speech, including retaliation against journalists for merely performing their duties,” Blinken said. “We reiterate our call on Russian authorities to immediately release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and all Other journalists detained for exercising their freedom of expression.”
President Joe Biden discusses Gershkovich at White House Correspondents’ Dinner Comment Last month, he said the reporter had “absolute courage”.
“We’re working every day to secure his release, to find opportunities and tools to bring him home,” Biden told attendees. “We stand by our beliefs.”
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