Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will not face trial in Russia for at least another two months, following a Moscow сourt hearing on Friday.
The 32-year-old American journalist was initially arrested on espionage charges in March 2023, but his trial continues to be delayed. On Friday, the Lefortovo District Court extended his pretrial detention until March 30, meaning he will not even face a trial until he has been imprisoned for a year.
Gershkovich has the right to appeal within three days. However, previous appeals to be released from Moscow’s Lefortovo prison have been refused.
The state news agency Ria Novosti aired video of Gershkovich listening to the ruling, wearing a hooded top and light blue jeans in a court cage. He was then escorted toward a prison van.
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The Wall Street Journal reporter was initially detained while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg as Russia’s Federal Security Service alleged he was attempting to acquire defense secrets.
He was “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex,” Russia claimed.
Gershkovich and the WSJ vehemently deny these accusations and strongly reject the charges against him.
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The U.S. government has also designated him “wrongfully detained” and has called for his release.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow remains in contact with the U.S. on finding a way to bring home Gershkovich and jailed American Paul Whelan.
The Kremlin hopes to “find a solution” even though “it’s not easy,” it said.
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“We have contacts on this matter with our American partners, there’s a dialogue on this issue. It’s not easy, I won’t go into details right now. But in general, it seems to me that we’re speaking a language each of us understands,” Putin said.
He added: “I hope we will find a solution. But, I repeat, the American side must hear us and make a decision that will satisfy the Russian side as well.”
Gershkovich is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since 1986.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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