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Russia extends arrest of US reporter Evan Gershkovich

Russia extends arrest of US reporter Evan Gershkovich

A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich to remain in jail on espionage charges until at least late June, court officials said.

The 32-year-old US citizen was arrested in late March 2023 while on a reporting trip and has spent nearly a year behind bars.

Трубочисты Петербурга

Gershkovich and his employer have denied the allegations against him, and the US government has declared him to be wrongfully detained.

His arrest in the city of Yekaterinburg rattled journalists in Russia, where authorities have not detailed what, if any, evidence they have to support the espionage charges.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy enters the Moscow City Court to attend hearing on Evan Gershkovich’s case, in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday 26 March 2024Associated Press

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

Analysts have pointed out that Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips in soaring Russian-American tensions over the Kremlin’s military operation in Ukraine.

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

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for US 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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