Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Russian Court Extends Detention of Wall Street Journal Reporter

Tue 28 Nov 2023 | 04:39 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

On Tuesday, a Moscow court ruled to extend the imprisonment of Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich until January 30, as reported by Russian media outlets. 

This decision was made during a closed hearing, with authorities citing the confidential nature of the criminal case against the American journalist.

Gershkovich, aged 32, was apprehended in March during a journalistic assignment in Yekaterinburg, a Russian city approximately 2,000 kilometers east of Moscow. 

The Federal Security Service of Russia accused him of gathering state secret information about a Russian military-industrial complex entity, purportedly under American directives. 

Both Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal have refuted these accusations, and the U.S. government has officially declared his detention as unjust.

This marks the first instance since 1986 of an American journalist facing espionage charges in Russia. 

The last similar case involved Nicholas Daniloff of U.S. News and World Report, who was arrested by the KGB.

Gershkovich is currently confined in Moscow's Lefortovo prison, known for its severe conditions.

Observers have suggested that Russia could be using detained Americans like Gershkovich as leverage in diplomatic negotiations, especially in light of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia following the latter's military action in Ukraine. 

The past has seen the exchange of Americans detained in Russia, such as WNBA player Brittney Griner, for Russians imprisoned in the U.S.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has indicated that any discussion of a swap involving Gershkovich will only take place after his trial concludes. In Russia, espionage trials are known to extend over a year.