Russia Extends Detention Of WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich
A Russian court ruled on Tuesday to extend the detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by an additional three months.
The Lefortovo Court of Moscow made the ruling after Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, asked to extend the journalist’s pretrial detention until at least Aug. 30, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Gershkovich’s detention was originally set to expire May 29, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The FSB arrested 31-year-old Gershkovich, who was on a reporting trip, in late March on accusations of espionage, making him the first American journalist to be detained on such charges in Russia since the Cold War. Gershkovich, the Journal and the U.S. government have denied the charge, the latter officially declaring last month that he is being “wrongfully detained” in Russia.
“Today our colleague, and distinguished journalist, Evan Gershkovich appeared for a pretrial hearing in a Moscow court,” the Journal said in a statement on Tuesday. “While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed. The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
In April, a Russian judge denied Gershkovich’s request to be released from pretrial detention. Russia also blocked a request for a May 11 consular visit to Gershkovich in retaliation for the U.S. prohibiting Russian journalists from joining Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on his visit to the United Nations in New York.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said it was “deeply concerned by today’s Russian court decision” to extend Gershkovich’s detention, according to the Journal.
“The United States strongly objects to Russia’s ongoing denial of consular access to Mr. Gershkovich,” it said. “We reiterate that the claims against him are baseless and call for Mr. Gershkovich’s immediate release.”
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on how the Russian court’s Tuesday ruling will impact negotiations to free Gershkovich. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration is “intensely engaged” with Moscow to get Gershkovich released.
“I wish I could say that in this moment there was a clear way forward,” he said at a World Press Freedom Day event hosted by The Washington Post. “We don’t have that in this moment, but it’s something that we’re working every single day.”