Russia to keep American WSJ journalist accused of espionage in prison

A Moscow court on Tuesday rejected the arguments presented by Evan Gershkovich's lawyers. He could receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter arrested in Moscow and accused of espionage by Russian authorities, will remain in prison. A Moscow court has decided this after rejecting the arguments presented by his lawyers against an accusation that could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Both Gershkovic and the U.S. government denied these accusations, claiming that the arrest was part of a campaign of persecution against the press who criticized the Kremlin over the invasion of Ukraine.

Gershkovic is the first American journalist detained in Russia since the end of the Cold War. When he appeared in court on Tuesday, dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, he was even bold enough to smile from inside the glass cage at the many journalists who had come to see and support him. Russian journalist Vasily Polonsky posted a video online showing him nodding to the judge as Polonsky shouted, "Evan hang in there. Everyone salutes you."

The 31-year-old American journalist was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service in Yekaterinburg last March and accused of trying to obtain classified information about a Russian arms factory.