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Jail term of US reporter Evan Gershkovich extended by Moscow court

Robert Besser
30 Mar 2024

MOSCOW, Russia: This week, a Moscow court extended the imprisonment of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich until at least June 30.

The 32-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg in late March 2023 while reporting for the newspaper and has spent nearly a year in prison.

Gershkovich and the WSJ have denied the spying allegations, and the U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained.

He is being held at Moscow's Lefortovo prison, which is notorious for its harsh conditions.

Russian authorities have not detailed what, if any, evidence they have to support the espionage charges.

After attending the court hearing, Lynne Tracy, U.S. Ambassador to Russia, reiterated that "the accusations against Evan are categorically untrue."

"They are not a different interpretation of circumstances. They are fiction," Tracy told reporters outside of the courthouse.

Russia has been using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after U.S.-Russian tensions have surged due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

At least two U.S. citizens arrested in Russia in recent years, including WNBA star Brittney Griner, have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the U.S.

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.

Daniloff was released without charge 20 days later in a swap for an employee of the Soviet Union's UN mission who was arrested by the FBI, also on spying charges.

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