Moscow: The Wall Street Journal reported that on Tuesday, a Moscow court confirmed the custody of Evan Gershkovich, a US journalist who was apprehended on accusations of espionage. However, both the Journal and the US government have strongly refuted these allegations.
On Tuesday, the Moscow City Court announced the decision against moving Gershkovich to another prison, permitting him house arrest or granting him bail. The court's ruling implies that Gershkovich will remain in pretrial detention at Moscow's Lefortovo prison until May 29. However, the Russian authorities can extend that period.Lefortovo has often been used to house prominent political prisoners.
Evan's detention challenged by lawyers
Gershkovich's lawyers - Tatyana Nozhkina and Maria Korchagina of the ZKS law firm had challenged the American journalist's detention nearly three weeks after he was detained during a reporting visit. Evan Gershkovich has been held in Moscow over the allegation of espionage. The charges have been denied by The Wall Street Journal and the US government, as per The Wall Street Journal report.
Evan Gershkovich stood inside a see-through detention box as he appeared in the hearing, The Wall Street Journal reported citing the footage of the proceedings witnessed on Russian state television.
The hearing in the Moscow court comes after the US State Department's decision last week to designate Gershkovich as wrongfully detained. Lynne Tracy, the US ambassador to Moscow, visited Gershkovich at Lefortovo, as per the news report.
Gershkovich was detained on March 29 and accused of espionage during his reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, as per the news report. On April 7, Gershkovich was formally charged with espionage, The Wall Street Journal reported citing TASS.
Russia's Federal Security Service said the journalist was "acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex."
Last week, the US determined that Russia had wrongfully detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and urged his immediate release. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Evan Gershkovich is "wrongfully detained by Russia," said US Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson.
"Today, Secretary Blinken made a determination that Evan Gershkovich is wrongfully detained by Russia. Journalism is not a crime. We condemn the Kremlin's continued repression of independent voices in Russia, and its ongoing war against the truth," Vedant Patel said.
"The US government will provide all appropriate support to Mr. Gershkovich and his family. We call for the Russian Federation to immediately release Mr. Gershkovich. We also call on Russia to release wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan," he added.
(With inputs form ANI)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)