Freedom Denied: Russian Court Rejects Bail Plea of American Journalist Gershkovich
- Posted on April 18, 2023
- By Top Stories
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According to the Kremlin, Gershkovich, who is the first American journalist to be arrested in Russia on espionage allegations since the Cold War era ended, was apprehended while actively engaged in espionage activities.
Evan Gershkovich, a US journalist, had his appeal for release from pre-trial detention rejected by a Moscow court on Tuesday. As a result, he will remain in a former KGB prison until at least May 29, while the investigation into the spying case against him continues.
Gershkovich was taken into custody by Russia's FSB security agency on March 29 on suspicion of espionage, due to allegations that he had gathered classified information related to the country's military-industrial complex.
Gershkovich, a journalist working for the Wall Street Journal, has refuted the accusations of espionage made against him. Despite being held in a glass and metal enclosure during the appeal hearing, he maintained a composed demeanor and even smiled. He was attired in a shirt patterned with checks and stood with his arms crossed in front of him.
Russian court denied bail and house arrest for Gershkovich, who was suggested to be freed on a 50 million roubles or be placed under house arrest. During the hearing, a Russian reporter encouraged Gershkovich to stay strong and conveyed greetings from others, while the U.S. Ambassador was present in the courtroom.
Gershkovich, an American journalist, was arrested by Russia's FSB on espionage charges that carry a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. The Kremlin claims he was caught in the act of collecting state secrets about the military-industrial complex. Although asked if he needed translation during his court appearance, Gershkovich said he understood everything. The US government and Gershkovich's colleagues maintain that he is innocent, and President Biden has condemned his detention as illegal.
During Tuesday's hearing, the focus was on how to detain Evan Gershkovich, rather than the substance of the charges against him, as the investigation is ongoing. Gershkovich, whose parents were , is being held at the Lefortovo prison, which was previously run by the KGB and is now operated by the Federal Penitentiary Service. This prison is typically used for holding suspects accused of serious crimes such as espionage.
The U.S. ambassador, Tracy, visited Gershkovich on Monday and reported that he was doing well. She reiterated the call for his immediate release, and the White House expressed hope of securing regular consular access to Gershkovich.
Washington declared Gershkovich "wrongfully detained," indicating that the accusations against him were politically motivated. The US hostage envoy has committed to doing everything necessary to bring both Gershkovich and Whelan, who were convicted of espionage in 2020, back to the US.
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