Evan Gershkovich: Russian court extends detention of US Journalist
The Russian government has extended the pre-trial imprisonment of US journalist Evan Gershkovich by three months. He was arrested on espionage allegations in March.
Russia’s media reported that a court has ordered the extension of Mr. Gershkovich’s detention until 30 August.
The US government has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Wall Street Journal reporter.
His arrest marked the first time Moscow had accused a US journalist of espionage since the Soviet era.
The Wall Street Journal, the US government, and Mr. Gershkovich who was arrested while reporting about the war in Ukraine in Yekaterinburg, have all denied the charges.
The judge’s ruling means he will continue to be held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.
No journalists were allowed into Tuesday’s court hearing, which was not announced in advance.
It is not clear whether Mr Gershkovich, 31, attended.
Matthew Miller, the spokesman for the US state department, said that diplomats from the US embassy had been in court.
Mr Gershkovich’s parents were admitted to the court building, but not into Tuesday’s hearing, said a Russian news agency, Interfax.
The state department said the US did not assist the parents in traveling to Moscow from their home in New Jersey.
“The claims against Evan are baseless and we continue to call for his immediate release,” Mr Miller said at a briefing in Washington DC.
Russia has alleged Mr. Gershkovich was attempting to gather information to pass on to US intelligence agencies. Russia has not yet publicly presented any evidence.
US officials have designated the reporter as being “wrongfully detained”.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that consular officials had been barred from visiting Mr. Gershkovich for a second time. He has previously been allowed one visit from US officials.
The newspaper said Russia had blocked the visits because the US had refused visas to Russian journalists who were attempting to travel to New York with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov last month.
During a hearing in Moscow last month, when Mr. Gershkovich appeared in court, authorities rejected his legal team’s offer to free him on bail of 50 million roubles ($620,000) or put him under house arrest.