Evan Gershkovich's detention in Russia extended over espionage allegations

A court in Moscow has ruled that Evan Gershkovich must remain in jail until late June. The Wall Street Journal reporter has been behind bars since being detained by Russia's FSB security service in Yekaterinburg on espionage charges in March 2023.

A judge originally ruled that Gershkovich should be detained for a period of two months, however by the time the recent extension is over he will have been held for 15 months.

According to the Associated Press, Gershkovich stood in a glass box dressed in a black checkered shirt as he was informed of the latest development in his case. 

Also in attendance was the United States ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, who maintained that "the accusations against Evan are categorically untrue."

Russian authorities have claimed that Gershkovich had been attempting "to obtain secret information" on "the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex."

"They are not a different interpretation of circumstances. They are fiction,” Tracy said of Russia's allegations during a press conference outside the courthouse. "No justification for Evan's continued detention, and no explanation as to why Evan doing his job as a journalist constituted a crime. Evan's case is not about evidence, due process or rule of law. It is about using American citizens as pawns to achieve political ends."

The Wall Street Journal has also reiterated that he "is a member of the free press who right up until he was arrested was engaged in news-gathering," adding, "any suggestions otherwise are false.”

Gershkovich has been held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison, which has been a symbol of repression and oppression since the days of the czar, however the conditions of his environment have not been revealed.

In an interview with NBC News following the news that his detention had been extended, Gershkovich's parents called for his release and noted that they were still hopeful justice would prevail.

"We're keeping ourselves optimistic," his mother said.

Image: Title: Gershkovich