Our client does not admit guilt and is ready to prove it.Maria Korchagina, a lawyer representing Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is wrongfully detained in Russia. On Tuesday, a court in Moscow upheld his pretrial detention.
Background: Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was detained in Russia on March 29, 2023 "while he was on a reporting trip" (The Wall Street Journal). He was arrested and is being held in Moscow on accusations of espionage (sharing private info to a foreign nation/entity), claims which the U.S. government and The Wall Street Journal deny. Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be detained by Russia since the Cold War (1986). He had been accredited to work in Russia as a journalist by Russia's Foreign Ministry, "a process that … was thought to grant a degree of protection for Western journalists" (The New York Times).
Why It Matters: On Tuesday, a Moscow judge denied an appeal for Gershkovich to be released to house arrest or to be released on bail, upholding his pretrial detention until May 29 (a date which can be extended). The U.S. ambassador to Russia was granted consular access to Gershkovich for the first time on Monday, and reiterated a U.S. call for his release, as well as for the release of Paul Whelan (another wrongfully detained American in Russia). Awaiting trial, Gershkovich is being held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison – a prison often used for keeping well-known political prisoners. Because he is charged for espionage, his trial is likely to be carried out before a judge and in secret. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in a Russian prison.
Looking Ahead: A lawyer representing Gershkovich, Tatyana Nozhkina, said they are preparing another appeal of the pretrial detention, and "said that Mr. Gershkovich … is in good health," and "spends his time watching culinary programs, exercising during the hour his is allowed to leave his cell each day and reading Russian classics. … 'His mood is combative,' she added. 'He is ready to continue to defend his innocence…as well as press freedom.'" (The Wall Street Journal).
Russian Court Upholds WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich's Detention (The Wall Street Journal)
Evan Gershkovich's Family Speaks Out for the First TIme Since His Arrest (The Wall Street Journal)
US reporter held by Russia on spying charges denied release (The Associated Press)
by Jenna Lee,