Russian court extends detention of Wall Street Journal reporter

28 November 2023, 08:14

Russia US Journalist
Russia US Journalist. Picture: PA

Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on espionage charges, will remain in custody until January 30.

A court in Moscow has extended the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on espionage charges, until January 30.

The hearing took place behind closed doors because authorities say details of the criminal case against the American journalist are classified.

Mr Gershkovich, 32, was detained in March while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow.

Russia’s Federal Security Service alleged that the reporter, “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex”.

Team USA Tennessee Basketball
Brittany Griner was swapped for a Russian prisoner held in the US (Wade Payne/AP)

Mr Gershkovich and the Journal deny the allegations, and the US government has declared him to be wrongfully detained. Russian authorities have not detailed any evidence to support the espionage charges.

Mr Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for US News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB. The reporter is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, notorious for its harsh conditions.

Analysts have pointed out that Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after US-Russian tensions soared when Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

At least two US citizens arrested in Russia in recent years — including basketball star Brittney Griner — have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the US.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said it will consider a swap for Mr Gershkovich only after a verdict in his trial. In Russia, espionage trials can last for more than a year.

By Press Association

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