(Moscow) American journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested in March in Russia and targeted by accusations of “espionage” which he rejects, is in court on Tuesday to appeal the extension of his detention, according to an AFP journalist here.
Evan Gershkovich, standing in the cage reserved for the accused and surrounded by agents of the Russian security services (FSB), gave a few smiles and winks to the journalists he recognized. The American ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, is also present.
A court in the Russian capital extended the journalist’s pre-trial detention by three months at the end of August.
Journalist at Wall Street JournalEvan Gershkovich was arrested by Russian security services during a report in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals, on March 29.
He has since been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, used by Russian security services to keep prisoners in near-total solitude.
Aged 31, this respected reporter, who also worked for the AFP in Moscow in the past, is accused of espionage, a crime punishable by 20 years in prison, but he rejects these accusations, as does Washington, his newspaper , his loved ones and his family.
Russia has never substantiated its accusations or publicly provided evidence, and the entire procedure has been classified secret. No date for his trial has been set at this time.
His arrest comes against the backdrop of serious diplomatic tensions between the United States and Russia, caused by the conflict in Ukraine. Washington supports Kyiv militarily and financially against Moscow.
The incarceration of a duly accredited foreign journalist by Russian authorities is unprecedented since Soviet times.
In recent years, several American citizens have been arrested and sentenced to heavy sentences in Russia, with Washington accusing Moscow of wanting to exchange them for Russians detained in the United States.