Russia Prolongs Evan Gershkovich’s Detention

Published: 28 November 2023

Evan Gershkovich TwitterThe Moscow's Lefortovo District Court extends the detention of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich (R). (Photo: Evan Gershkovic/X, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

A Moscow court on Tuesday extended the incarceration of Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich until at least January 30, 2024, prolonging his confinement since March this year on spying accusations.

The Lefortovo District Court in Moscow did not provide details on its decision to keep the U.S. journalist behind bars.

The Russian Federal Security Service arbitrarily arrested Gershkovich on March 29, 2023, accusing him of gathering 'state secrets' on behalf of the United States while reporting from the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Evan Gershkovich, 31, worked for various media outlets before relocating to Russia in 2017 to serve as a Russia-accredited journalist.

Over the past year, he has been a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, covering topics such as mobilization, sanctions and their impact on the economy and people, Russia’s increasing isolation, and the government’s attempts to suppress anti-war activism following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Despite calls from numerous international organizations urging Russian authorities to release Gershkovich, the Kremlin regime ignored those demands.

Earlier this year, in July, United Nations human rights experts called for Gershkovich’s immediate release, claiming that the prosecution has never publicly presented any evidence to substantiate this severe claim and that his detention appeal was denied.

“The arrest and indictment of Gershkovich on serious criminal charges, which could lead to 20 years in a penal colony, is an example of the severe clampdown on freedom of opinion and expression and on independent journalism in Russia since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Mariana Katzarova, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation, and Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

They stressed that Gershkovich’s arrest is actually the first time that Russian authorities have charged a U.S. journalist with espionage since the Soviet era, sending a “chilling message to all foreign journalists, and indeed to all journalists in Russia.”