Russia court rejects appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter in espionage case News
Photos: Evan Gershkovich // Facebook, Flickr
Russia court rejects appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter in espionage case

A Russian court dismissed an appeal Tuesday from Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held in pre-trial detention for more than six months on allegations of espionage, ruling that Gershkovich will continue to be held in jail.

According to Russian state-affiliated news source TASS, the court “considered the appeal of Gershkovich’s defense against the decision to extend his period of detention and decided to leave the decision of the first instance unchanged, and the complaint of the accused’s lawyers was not satisfied.”

Gershkovich was ordered to be detained for two months in March on charges of espionage under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) alleges that Gershkovich was acting on the instructions of American authorities to gather information and state secrets related to Russia’s military-industrial complex. If found guilty, Gershkovich could face up to 20 years in prison.

In May, pretrial detention charges were extended until August 30 by the Lefortovo Court of Moscow. Subsequently, in August, the same court further extended his detention until his trial scheduled for November 30.

The hearing on Tuesday was attended by Stephanie Holmes, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The U.S. Embassy later expressed disappointment that the appeal to extend Gershkovich’s detention had been denied and called for his release.

In September, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a resolution urging Russia to release Gershkovich. The resolution, led by Senators Jim Risch (R, ID) and Ben Cardin (D, MD), called for Moscow to “provide full, unfettered, and consistent consular access, in accordance with its international obligations, to Evan Gershkovich while he remains in detention.”