Moscow court extends WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich’s pre-trial detention

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A Moscow court has extended the pre-trial detention of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, who had been arrested on espionage charges, by three months.

His pretrial detention was extended until November 30, the press service of the Lefortovo Court said Thursday.

It had been due to end on August 30 after previously being extended on May 23 while he awaits trial.

The Wall Street Journal called the development “deeply disappointing.”

“Today, our colleague and distinguished journalist Evan Gershkovich appeared for a pre-trial hearing where his improper detention was extended yet again,” the newspaper said in a statement Thursday. “We are deeply disappointed he continues to be arbitrarily and wrongfully detained for doing his job as a journalist.”

Gershkovich’s lawyers will appeal the court’s decision, according to WSJ’s Editor in Chief Emma Tucker and Publisher Almar Latour.

“It’s also a reminder of the fight we’re in as Evan has now been wrongfully detained for five months — a horrific and sobering milestone in our efforts to free him,” they said, according to the statement.

On June 22, Gershkovich lost an appeal against the extension of his pre-trial detention in Moscow.

Gershkovich has been detained in Russia since March following his arrest on charges that he, the WSJ, and the US government vehemently deny.

His arrest was the first detention of an American reporter in Russia on allegations of spying since the Cold War, rattling White House officials and further straining ties between Moscow and Washington.

The US State Department has officially designated Gershkovich as wrongfully detained in Russia. US President Joe Biden has also been blunt about Gershkovich’s arrest, urging Russia to “let him go.”

Biden last month said he is “serious” about a prisoner exchange to free Gershkovich.

“I’m serious about a prisoner exchange. I’m serious about doing what we can to free Americans who are being illegally held in Russia or anywhere else for that matter. And that process is underway,” Biden told a news conference in Helsinki in July.

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