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Russian court denies Evan Gershkovich's release from custody

The decision came after the U.S. Congress, The Wall Street Journal and the journalist himself requested his release. He will remain in prison until at least Aug. 30.

Evan Gershkovich, periodista del The Wall Street Journal retenido en una prisión rusa desde el 30 de marzo de 2023.

Evan Gershkovich / Cordon Press

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A Moscow court has refused to release Evan Gershkovich, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal, who has been imprisoned in the Russian capital's Lefortovo prison since March 30. At the very least, he will continue to be held until Aug. 30, the newspaper reported.

The Russian judiciary opposed the release demanded by Gershkovich's defense and even the U.S. Congress, which claims that the journalist was unjustly detained. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) requested that Gershkovich stay in prison; which was ultimately approved by the court.

The motives that led to the journalist's arrest by FSB agents were, allegedly, for acting as a spy for the U.S. government, something that the government, The Wall Street Journal and Gershkovich himself have denied. The prosecution has yet to present evidence of this, and the journalist could face a sentence of up to 20 years.

Lynne Tracy, U.S. ambassador to Moscow, noted after being present in court:

The charges against Evan are baseless. He is an innocent journalist who was carrying out journalistic activities and has been wrongfully detained. Such hostage diplomacy is unacceptable, and we call on the Russian Federation to release him, as well as Paul Whelan, another U.S. citizen who has been wrongfully detained. We call for that release to occur immediately.

The Wall Street Journal added in a statement:

Although the outcome was expected, it is no less an outrage that his detention continues to be upheld. Evan has been wrongfully detained for more than 12 weeks for nothing more than doing his job as a journalist. We continue to demand his immediate release.