Home News American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, who is being held in Russia, remains in prison

American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, who is being held in Russia, remains in prison

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On Tuesday, April 18, a Russian court rejected a request for the release of American journalist Ivan Gershkovich, confirming his pre-trial detention on espionage charges, which he rejects.

After a closed session, the judge decided “leave it unchanged” Arrest measure, according to an AFP journalist admitted to the room to read the decision. Ivan Gershkovich, a reporter for the American newspaper “The Wall Street Journal”, was arrested at the end of last March while reporting in Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

sequel after announcement

The arrest of a reporter for the prestigious American Daily newspaper “espionage”It is the first such case in decades in Russia, and is part of the context of a crisis between Washington and Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.

Arrested by the Russians, Ivan Gershkovich is an exceptional journalist. and a good man

Ivan Gershkovich appeared before the court for the first time in public since his imprisonment, with a firm face and folded arms, and smiled repeatedly at the journalists who were filming or filming him.

The detainee remains a “fighter”

The 31-year-old reporter, who himself covered several trials in Russia, this time was on the other side, locked in a glass cage meant for the defendants, with deep marks from the handcuffs on his wrists.

After a closed session, the judge decided “leave it unchanged” An AFP journalist in court indicated that pre-trial detention was being held until at least 29 May.

sequel after announcement

Despite this decision, Ivan Gershkovich remains “fighting”His lawyer, Maria Korchagina, told AFP. in prison, “He plays sports, he understands that people support him”she added. “He contested his arrest, he wants to be found not guilty, he wants to prove there is still room for freedom of the press.”I continued.

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He was arrested by Russian security services at the end of March while on assignment in Yekaterinburg in the Urals. The Kremlin says he was arrested in “at the event” – Spy, without providing any evidence of this, the file is confidential.

In particular, he was officially accused of collecting information on the defense industry. Ivan Gershkovich, his family, his employer and the US authorities categorically reject the charges of espionage, which carries a penalty of twenty years in prison, accusing Moscow of attacking him because of his work as a journalist.

“I don’t lose hope”

The US ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, who appeared in court on Tuesday, was able to visit him the day before for the first time since the beginning of his imprisonment. “He is in good health and in good spirits, despite the circumstances.”Lynn Tracy said on Twitter after the meeting.

sequel after announcement

And the head of US diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, called again on Monday for “immediate release” For the reporter known for his toughness and love for Russia.

“I don’t lose hope”Ivan Gershkovitch wrote in a letter to his parents from prison, which was published last week in the Wall Street Journal.

Russian repression against the media

Since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine last year, the Russian authorities have stepped up repression in Russia against dissidents as well as against the media.

Thus, new criminal proceedings were announced on Tuesday against the main opponent of the Kremlin, Alexei Navalny, who is already serving a nine-year prison sentence. Now accused of possession “Authorized the activities of the penal institution”He faces an additional five years in prison.

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Although political opponents have been targeted for several years, the arrest of Ivan Gershkovich has sent shockwaves, as no Western journalist has been arrested and charged with espionage in Russia for decades. Many observers believe he could serve in Moscow as part of a possible prisoner exchange with Washington. In December 2022, American basketball star Brittney Griner, who was being held in Russia, was exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is being held in the United States.

It has not yet been announced when Ivan Gershkovich’s trial will begin.

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