Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's detention in Russia extended to June 30

ByKevin Shalvey ABCNews logo
Tuesday, March 26, 2024
WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich's detention in Russia extended
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's detention in Russia has been extended. His parents previously said they're optimistic.

LONDON -- A Russian court on Tuesday extended Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's pre-trial detention until at least June 30.

The journalist was arrested in March 2023 by Russia's powerful domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, while on a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg. He has been held since then in Moscow's Lefortovo prison.

He's been accused of "acting on the instructions of the American side" and collecting state secrets about the military.

"This verdict to further prolong Evan's detention feels particularly painful, as this week marks one year since Evan was arrested and wrongfully detained in Yekaterinburg simply for doing his job as a journalist," U.S. Ambassador Lynne M. Tracy said on Tuesday.

She added, "The accusations against Evan are categorically untrue. They are not a different interpretation of circumstances, they are fiction."

Gershkovich has attempted to appeal for release several times over the the last year, but has each time had those appeals denied, extending his pre-trial detention.

The Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Emma Tucker told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an interview published Monday that she believes that their reporter will be eventually freed.

"Evan will be released, but it's complicated to get there," she said. "There are a lot of different people and governments involved. So I think, you know, we just have to be patient, and optimistic."

Tuesday's court appearance marked the 12th time Gershkovich has been seen in a court since his detention, the Journal said in a statement. The paper called those appearances "baseless proceedings that falsely portray him as something other than what he is - a journalist who was doing his job."

The statement added, "He should never have been detained. Journalism is not a crime, and we continue to demand his immediate release."

SEE ALSO: Evan Gershkovich's parents speak out nearly 1 year after American journalist detained by Russia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken determined in April 2023 that Gershkovich had been wrongly detained, with Vedant Patel, a department spokesperson, saying at the time that U.S. officials "condemn the Kremlin's continued repression of independent voices in Russia, and its ongoing war against the truth."

The journalist, who served as a correspondent in the Journal's Moscow bureau, is one of several high-profile U.S. citizens or dual nationals currently detained in Russia.

Paul Whelan, a Marine veteran who the U.S. also designated as wrongly detained, was charged with espionage and convicted in 2020, following 18 months in pre-trial detention.

Ksenia Karelina, a dual American-Russian citizen, was arrested Jan. 27 and later jailed for allegedly organizing fundraisers for Ukraine's military, attending pro-Ukraine rallies, and posting messages against Russia's war in Ukraine, according to Russian state media.

Another journalist, Alsu Kurmasheva, of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was detained in October 2023.

"The Russian government has not allowed Alsu to speak to her husband or daughters for over four months, and despite repeated requests by the U.S. government, Alsu has been denied consular access, her right as a U.S. citizen," RFE/RL said in a statement this month.

Gershkovich was last seen in a Moscow court in February, when his pre-trial detention was again extended for 30 days.

"As you've heard me say many times from this podium, the charges against him are baseless and Russia should immediately release Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, and the United States will continue to work towards securing both of their freedom," Matthew Miller, a State Department spokesperson, said at the time.

Gershkovich's parents said they were optimistic during an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America."

ABC News' Jon Haworth, Patrick Reevell, Meredith Deliso, Shannon K. Crawford and Caroline Guthrie contributed to this story.