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Russian court extends detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

A Russian court said Tuesday that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is wrongly detained on false charges of espionage, will remain imprisoned until Jan. 30, 2024.

Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was detained on March 29 during a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in Russia, and accused of being a spy. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison.

“The court ruled to extend the term of detention of Gershkovich, accused of a crime under Article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, for up to 10 months, that is, until January 30, 2024,” Moscow’s Lefortovo district court said, according to Reuters.

Russian authorities claim Gershkovich “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH TURNS 32 WHILE WRONGFULLY DETAINED BY RUSSIA

Gershkovich denies the charges, as do U.S. officials and his colleagues, who describe the American-born son of Soviet immigrants as a diligent reporter who is being used as a political pawn due to his high profile. He is the first U.S. journalist to be detained by Russia since the Cold War. 

The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny the allegations against Gershkovich and have called for his immediate release. His arrest is seen as a brazen violation of press freedom that not only poses widespread consequences for journalism and the media but to governments and democracies everywhere, and is part of a wider journalism crackdown by the autocratic Russian Federation.

WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH HITS SIX MONTHS OF WRONGFUL DETAINMENT IN RUSSIA

Evan Gershkovich

“Evan has now been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 250 days, and every day is a day too long,” the Journal said in a statement to Reuters. 

“The accusations against him are categorically false and his continued imprisonment is a brazen and outrageous attack on a free press, which is critical for a free society. We continue to stand with Evan and call for his immediate release.”

EVAN GERSHKOVICH’S FRIENDS REACT TO BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION DEMANDING RUSSIA LET HIM GO: ‘WE WILL NOT REST’

Gershkovich has made multiple court appearances appealing his confinement but has so far been unsuccessful. 

The White House has called the charges “ridiculous” and President Biden has said Gershkovich’s detention is “totally illegal.” 

“We are deeply concerned by the court’s decision,” the U.S. embassy in Moscow told Reuters. “We reiterate our call for his immediate release.”

According to Reuters, diplomats have suggested that Gershkovich was likely detained as part of a broader Russian effort to imprison U.S. citizens who can later be exchanged for Russian citizens, including convicted spies, detained in the West.

Russian officials have said there will be no exchange involving Gershkovich until a verdict is reached in his case. His trial date has not yet been announced. 

The U.S. State Department has instructed U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Russia because of “harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials,” among other reasons. 

Fox News Digital’s Brian Flood, Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and Reuters contributed to this report.

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