Updated May 23, 2023 - World

Russia extends detention of WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich by 3 months

Evan Gershkovich

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appears in Moscow court on April 18. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian court on Tuesday extended Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's detention by another three months, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Driving the news: Gershkovich will remain in pretrial detention until at least Aug. 30 after a judge at Moscow's Lefortovo District Court approved the request by investigators from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) that Gershkovich remain detained, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

  • Gershkovich's detention had been set to expire on May 29, per TASS.

State of play: Tuesday's court hearing wasn't announced beforehand, per AP.

  • The hearing was held behind closed doors because some of the case materials are classified, TASS reported.
  • A Russian court in April upheld Gershkovich's detention, rejecting his lawyers' request to release him on bail or house arrest.
  • Gershkovich, who has been held at Moscow's infamous Lefortovo Prison, could face up to 20 years in prison if ultimately convicted of espionage.

The big picture: Gershkovich's arrest marked the first time a U.S. journalist was detained in an espionage case in Russia since the Cold War, per the Committee to Protect Journalists.

  • The U.S. officially declared last month that he had been "wrongfully detained" by Russia.
  • At the time of his arrest, the FSB accused Gershkovich of trying to obtain classified information "on the instructions of the United States" — an allegation the Wall Street Journal "vehemently" denied.
  • Russia's arrest of Gershkovich marked a continuation of the Kremlin's crackdown on independent media and dissent within the county, which escalated with the onset of the Ukraine invasion.

Editor note: This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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