Russian court extends US journalist's pre-trial detention

Moscow, Russia - A court in Moscow on Friday extended the pre-trial detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by two months following his arrest last spring on espionage charges.

Detained Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich (l.) is escorted out of the Lefortovsky Court building in Moscow on Friday after his espionage trial was extended until March 30.
Detained Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich (l.) is escorted out of the Lefortovsky Court building in Moscow on Friday after his espionage trial was extended until March 30.  © ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP

The US citizen will remain behind bars until March 30, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a court press release.

The hearing itself was held behind closed doors because the trial's contents are still being classified as secret.

Gershkovich (32) has worked as the newspaper's Russia correspondent since January 2022. He was arrested by the FSB intelligence service in March 2023 while on a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, about 2,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

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The public prosecutor's office accuses him of gathering state secrets about the activities of a Russian defense company while under instructions from "the American side."

Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal deny that he was involved in any spying activities, while the US government says his detention is groundless.

In December, the White House said authorities in Moscow had rejected an offer from Washington to release Gershkovich and another US citizen in custody, former marine Paul Whelan. Details of the offer were not disclosed.

While Gershkovich's detention is seen against the backdrop of Russia's war in Ukraine, Whelan was detained on espionage charges in 2018.

Cover photo: ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP

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