Russian court refuses to release WSJ journalist Evan Gershkovich from custody
Evan Gershkovich (Photo:REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
The Moscow City Court denied the release of The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich from pretrial custody in the Lefortovo Detention Center on charges of espionage, reported Russian news site Mediazona on April 18.
Gershkovich's defense team had requested a softer preventive measure, such as house arrest, restrictions on certain activities, or a bail of 50 million rubles.
When asked by the judge if he needed the court's decision to be translated to him, Gershkovich replied, "No, it's clear. Thank you very much."
The appeal was considered behind closed doors, though U.S Ambassador to Russia, Lynn Tracy, attended. She was permitted to visit the detained journalist for the first time one day earlier.
Tracy said that the U.S. would continue to demand consular access and the release of Gershkovich, as well as Paul Whelan, the U.S. businessman serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia.
The Lefortovo Court in Moscow arrested Evan Gershkovich on March 30. Russian security services claim that he collected information on a state defense enterprise "at the request of the United States."
He was detained in Yekaterinburg, accompanied by publicist Yaroslav Shirshikov, who said that Gershkovich was preparing a report on Wagner PMC and the war in Ukraine.
The Wall Street Journal rejects the Russian regime's allegations and demands the immediate release of the journalist.
The United States recognized Gershkovich's arrest as unlawful, allowing the state to negotiate on his behalf. His case will be handled by the State Department unit that typically handles hostage negotiations.
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