OAN’s Noah Herring
11:40 AM – Thursday, June 22, 2023
The Russian courts decided on Thursday to deny the appeal of a Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained on espionage charges, keeping him in detention until August.
Evan Gershkovich, the detained reporter, was arrested back in March and accused of “acting on the instructions of the American side” and collecting information about the Russian military.
The journalist arrived in Moscow city court wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, as he was placed in a glass box.
The United States declared that it was “extremely disappointed” in the decision. U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynn Tracy, stated that the charges against Gershkovich are “baseless” and called for his release.
“He is an innocent journalist who was carrying out journalistic activities and has been wrongfully detained. Such hostage diplomacy is unacceptable and we call on the Russian Federation to release him, as well as Paul Whelan and other U.S. citizens who have been wrongfully detained and we call for that release to occur immediately,” Tracy said.
Whelan, a Canadian-born former United States Marine with U.S., British, Irish, and Canadian citizenship, was convicted in 2020 on charges similar to Gershkovich’s. He is now serving 16 years in Russian prison.
“Nevertheless today in the courtroom Evan continued to show remarkable strength and resilience in the face of these very difficult circumstances,” Tracy said.
His pre-trial detention was set to expire on May 29th. An earlier request to be transferred to house arrest or be granted bail was denied in April. In May, a judge extended his pre-trial detention to August 30th.
“Although the outcome was expected, it is no less an outrage that his detention continues to be upheld. Evan has been wrongfully detained for more than 12 weeks for nothing more than doing his job as a journalist. We continue to demand his immediate release,” according to a statement from the WSJ.
The parents of Gershkovich were present in the courtroom and stood next to the glass box that their son was placed in.
Evans’ sister, Danielle Gershkovich, reportedly found out the news while she was in Philadelphia. She said it was good to at least see her brother smiling, but that the ruling was still disappointing.
“There’s always a little bit of hope when these things happen, but we understand we’re in it for the long haul,” Danielle Gershkovich said.
President Biden, who was in contact with Gershkovich’s family in April, said that the detention was “totally illegal” without really providing any sort of resolution.
State Department officials have claimed that the U.S. journalist was “wrongfully detained,” as the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the release of Gershkovich and Whelan.
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