26 Jan 2024 12:20

Moscow court extends WSJ journalist Gershkovich's arrest on espionage counts

MOSCOW. Jan 26 (Interfax) - Moscow's Lefortovsky District Court has upheld an investigator's motion and extended the arrest of Evan Gershkovich, reporter of the Wall Street Journal's Moscow bureau, on espionage counts, the court press service told Interfax.

"A court ruling has extended Gershkovich's arrest for two months, until March 30, 2024," the court press service said on Friday.

The court met in camera, as the criminal case materials are classified.

By March 30, Gershkovich will have been under arrest for a year.

On March 29, 2023, the public relations department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) said that Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen born in 1991, was detained and charged with espionage. He faces from 10 to 20 years in prison.

According to the FSB, Gershkovich was "acting on the orders of the U.S., gathering information about a Russian defense plant that constitutes a state secret," the FSB said. "The American was detained in Yekaterinburg while trying to obtain secret information."

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said later that Gershkovich was caught red-handed.

Gershkovich pled not guilty, his defense team said. U.S. authorities said his arrest was illegal and are seeking to secure his release. The journalist is being held at the Lefortovo pretrial detention facility in Moscow.