Feb 20, 2024 - World

Russian court rejects WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich's latest appeal

Evan Gershkovich

Evan Gershkovich inside a defendants' cage before a hearing at the Moscow City Court on Feb. 20. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images

A Russian court on Tuesday upheld the pretrial detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, ensuring his imprisonment will last until at least March 30.

Why it matters: Barring a prisoner exchange that secures his release, the ruling means Gershkovich will spend a full year behind bars without being convicted of a crime.

  • "It's been nearly one year since Evan's unjust arrest for doing nothing more than his job, and every day he remains in prison is an unconscionable attack on a free press," the Wall Street Journal said in a statement.
  • "Evan is a journalist, and any suggestion or portrayal otherwise is fiction," the news organization said. "We continue to demand his immediate release."

Driving the news: The court on Tuesday rejected an appeal that Gershkovich's lawyers filed after the most recent extension, the Journal reported.

  • Lynne Tracy, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, said in a statement outside the court Tuesday that was posted to Telegram that she intends to visit Gershkovich in prison on Wednesday.
  • "The plight of U.S. citizens wrongfully detained in Russia remains a top concern for me, my team, and the entire U.S. government," she added.

Catch up fast: Gershkovich was arrested on espionage charges last year on March 29 — the first time Russia detained a U.S. journalist on spying charges since the Cold War. The U.S. has designated him wrongfully detained.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted at the possibility of a prisoner swap for Gershkovich during an interview with Tucker Carlson earlier this month.

The big picture: Gershkovich is one of several American citizens being detained in Russia.

  • Former Marine Paul Whelan has been wrongfully imprisoned by Russia since December 2018 on espionage charges that the U.S. has denounced as baseless.
  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Alsu Kurmasheva — a dual U.S.-Russian citizen — was arrested last October and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent. Her detention was extended earlier this month until April.
  • Russia's Federal Security Service announced Tuesday that it has arrested a Los Angeles woman — also a dual U.S.-Russian citizen — for treason, charges for allegedly raising funds for Ukraine's army.

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