Russia court rules US journalist Evan Gershkovich to be tried in secret News
A.Savin, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia court rules US journalist Evan Gershkovich to be tried in secret

The Sverdlovsky Regional Court on Monday declared that the trial of American journalist Evan Gershkovich will be held behind closed doors. As released by the court and reported by TASS, the first session will take place on June 26. Gershkovich was previously being kept in a pre-trial detention center, during which time his appeal to be freed from detention was denied by the Moscow City Court.

Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained in March 2023 on charges of espionage. In April 2023, he was formally charged with the crime, with the Russian Federal Security Service accusing him of spying on the Russian military-industrial complex for the US. While these accusations were denied, Gershkovich has continued to be in detention despite the US State Department attempting to negotiate his release and declaring the detention wrongful. This is also the first time a US journalist has been accused of espionage in Russia since 1991 when the fall of the Soviet Union occurred.

The current pre-trial detainment itself has been repeatedly extended, after it was originally intended to end in May 2023. However, five extensions were granted as talks between the US and Russia ensued, with Russian President Vladimir Putin stating “We are ready to return US citizens in custody to their homeland. But the conditions must be mutually acceptable. The American side must hear us”. He also denied all allegations of lack of proper investigation.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s office announced last week that it had approved the indictment on the espionage charges. Gershkovich’s indictment is also accompanied by the detention extensions and convictions of other dual nationals, including journalist Alsu Kurmasheva and Yuri Malev.