Russia court further extends US journalist’s detention to November News
Photos: Evan Gershkovich // Facebook, Flickr
Russia court further extends US journalist’s detention to November

A Moscow court extended on Thursday the pre-trial detention of detained Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich in a closed hearing, according to reports from Russian state media source TASS. Gershkovich’s detention was previously extended until August, and will now continue until his trial on November 30. 

Russian authorities arrested Gershkovich in March 2023 on charges of espionage under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code. He is the first US journalist accused by Russia of espionage since the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) alleges that Gershkovich was “acting at the behest” of American authorities to collect information and state secrets about Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Gershkovich denies the allegations against him and filed appeals that were later rejected by Russian courts. His colleagues at the WSJ have stood steadfastly beside him, defending his work and calling for his release. After Thursday’s ruling that Gershkovich’s detention would continue, the WSJ blasted the decision in a statement, saying:

Today, our colleague and distinguished journalist Evan Gershkovich appeared for a pre-trial hearing where his improper detention was extended yet again. We are deeply disappointed he continues to be arbitrarily and wrongfully detained for doing his job as a journalist. The baseless accusations against him are categorically false, and we continue to push for his immediate release. Journalism is not a crime.

The US State Department has designated Gershkovich as wrongfully detained, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that they are pressing for his release. This extension follows the US’s Ambassador to Russia’s mid-August visit to Gershkovich in jail—something that US authorities say Russian authorities previously denied.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also condemned Gershkovich’s continued detention, with CPJ’s program director Carlos Martinez de la Serna saying, “Every new extension of Evan Gershkovich’s detention is a blow to the freedom of the press in Russia and an attack on the work of foreign correspondents in the country.” De la Serna went on to call for Gershkovich’s release and for Russian authorities to “stop prosecuting the press for their work.”

Gershkovich’s detention comes as governments around the world are making it increasingly difficult and dangerous for journalists to do their jobs. Russia is no exception to this, with 19 journalists being detained in Russia in 2022, making it one of the top 10 riskiest countries for reporters. 

US officials have stressed that they will continue working to secure Gershkovich’s release and warned US nationals not to travel to Russia.