Court in Russia Rejects Evan Gershkovich’s Appeal Against Detention

A court in Moscow rejected an appeal on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against his detention, more than a year after he became the first American journalist arrested on spying charges in Russia since the Cold War.

The court ruled that Mr. Gershkovich, 32, must stay in a high-security prison in Moscow at least until the end of June, The Journal and news agencies reported. With no trial date yet set, Mr. Gershkovich’s detention is likely to be extended further.

Mr. Gershkovich, his employer and the U. S. government have vehemently rejected the espionage charges against him. The White House has designated Mr. Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” a status tantamount to being a political prisoner.

In its statement on Tuesday, The Journal said that it “continues to be outrageous that Evan has been wrongfully detained by the Russian government for more than a year.”

“Evan’s freedom is long overdue, and we urge the administration to do everything in their power to secure his release,” the statement said.

Unlike at many other hearings, reporters were allowed into the courtroom on Tuesday. According to Reuters, Mr. Gershkovich stood in a glass box and greeted his media colleagues. The Associated Press described Mr. Gershkovich as looking relaxed.

At the end of March last year, Mr. Gershkovich was arrested by agents of the Federal Security Service, Russia’s main security service, while on a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, a major Russian industrial city east of Moscow.

The security service has not publicly presented any evidence to support the spying charge. In February, President Vladimir V. Putin claimed that Mr. Gershkovich “was receiving classified, confidential information” and “did it covertly.”

Mr. Gershkovich’s arrest was one in a series of detentions of American nationals in Russia over the past six years, a process that has raised fears that the Kremlin is seeking to use U.S. citizens as bargaining chips to be exchanged for Russian individuals held in the West.

In February, Mr. Putin said that talks were underway over a potential exchange of Mr. Gershkovich for a Russian national held abroad. In March, a Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei A. Ryabkov, told TASS, a state news agency, that prisoner exchange talks were conducted “through a specialized closed channel.”

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