Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appears inside a glass cage in Moscow court to appeal his arrest on spying charges
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court Tuesday, seeking release from Russian jail as he appeals his espionage case.
However, the Russian court rejected his effort to be released and returned the case to a lower court for ‘procedural violations.’ The move leaves Gershkovich, 31, in jail until at least November 30.
During the hearing, Gershkovich could be seen in the glass defendants’ cage, smiling at fellow journalists, wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans.
Gershkovich was detained in March during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow, and has been held in Russian prison since.
Russian authorities accuse him of collecting classified information, a claim Gershkovich, the Journal and the US government deny – and that could result in him being sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court Tuesday, seeking release from jail on espionage charges
The court declined his appeal and returned the case to a lower court due to unspecified ‘procedural violations’
Dozens of journalists and supporters at the courthouse caught their first glimpse in weeks of the Wall Street Journal reporter, who is the first US correspondent since the Cold War to be detained in Russia for alleged spying.
The US government has declared him wrongfully detained, while Russian authorities haven’t provided evidence to support the espionage charges.
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy made her fourth visit to Gershkovich on Friday, emphasizing the importance of his case.
He is currently held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, known for its harsh conditions, and is the first American reporter to face such charges in Russia since 1986.
He is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since 1986 when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was arrested.
Some analysts speculate that Moscow might be using jailed Americans as leverage amid heightened US-Russian tensions, with previous exchanges involving American citizens detained in Russia.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry has claimed it would consider a swap only after Gershkovich’s trial, which could last over a year in Russia.
Gershkovich was charged with espionage in Russia and has entered his official denial in April
Gershkovich, 31, will likely remain in jail until November 30
Gershkovich was detained in March during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow
During the hearing, Gershkovich could be seen in the glass defendants’ cage, smiling at fellow journalists, wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans
Russian authorities accuse him of collecting classified information, a claim both Gershkovich, the Journal and the US government deny
US ambassador Lynne Tracy speaks to the media outside the Moscow City Court after a hearing to consider an appeal of US journalist Evan Gershkovich
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy made her fourth visit to Gershkovich on Friday, emphasizing the importance of his case
In the meantime, Gershkovich is being held at a notorious prison in Moscow, Lefortovo, which was once host to mass executions during Stalin’s Great Purge
Gershkovich last appeared in court in August when a judge ruled he must remain in jail until the end of November.
Gershkovich arrived at court for a hearing to extend his arrest in a white prison van and was led handcuffed out of the vehicle wearing jeans, sneakers and a shirt.
Journalists outside the court were not allowed to witness the proceedings, which were held behind closed doors due to details of the criminal case being classified.
His parents called on world leaders to urge Russia to free him. They appeared in an interview with ABC back in July.
The parents of Gershkovich said Joe Biden promised he will ‘do whatever it takes’ to free their son.
Parents of the 32-year-old reporter also said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made similar assurances and claimed he ‘would not rest’ until their son was returned.
Gershkovich has spent more than five months in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison since his arrest on espionage charges on March 29 while reporting on the Wagner Group.
Mikhail Gershkovich and Ella Milman met while working in New York after fleeing the Soviet Union in 1979, and raised Evan and his sister in New Jersey.
Gershkovich parents said President Joe Biden had assured them he would ‘do whatever it takes’ to free their son from Russian imprisonment
Ella Milman, mother of Gershkovich, leaves a Russian court after a hearing to consider an appeal against her son’s detention on June 22
Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on June 22
Gershkovich in Russia. Gershkovich was put in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, which dates from the czarist era and has been a terrifying symbol of repression since Soviet times
Pictured, second from right, Gershkovich
In an interview with ABC News, the pair gave an update on Gershkovich’s wellbeing and their ongoing conversations with US officials.
‘President Biden spoke to us and gave us a promise to do whatever it takes. He talked to us as a parent and he told us he understands our pain,’ said Millman.
Mikhail Gershkovich reiterated the support the couple had received from Biden and suggested the president’s commitment was reassuring and credible.
‘President Biden did say it’s a personal matter for him, because of his son, and we take a lot of comfort in that,’ he said.
Millman indicated that it was not just Biden whom they had spoken with since their son’s arrest.
‘We also met secretary of state Mr. Blinken as well. He showed us his card with the names of all the wrongfully detained Americans around the world,’ she said.
‘Evan’s name was on that list as well, and he promised us he was not going to rest until all the names are crossed out from his card.’
Since his arrest in March, the parents made multiple trips to Russia. They attended a court hearing last month in which it was ruled that he would remain in jail until at least last August.