OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
3:50 PM – Tuesday, May 23, 2023
The imprisonment of American journalist Evan Gershkovich has been prolonged by a Russian court on Tuesday for an additional three months.
According to the state-run TASS news agency, a Moscow court had been requested by a federal security service (FSB) investigator to continue holding the Wall Street Journal writer in custody past May 29th and until August 30th.
“Today our colleague, and distinguished journalist, Evan Gershkovich appeared for a pretrial hearing in a Moscow court,” The Wall Street Journal said in a statement following the ruling. “While we expected there would be no change to Evan’s wrongful detention, we are deeply disappointed. The accusations are demonstrably false, and we continue to demand his immediate release.”
According to an account from TASS, the court “received a request from the investigation to extend the preventive measure in the form of detention against the accused until August 30.” According to the Associated Press, which cited Russian news media, the court ultimately decided in the FSB’s favor.
Gershkovich had been charged with espionage by the FSB for allegedly gathering “information constituting a state secret about the activities of an enterprise within Russia’s military-industrial complex.” However, these claims have been officially refuted by Gershkovich and The Wall Street Journal.
The WSJ revealed last week that the Russian government had turned down an American official’s request to see him in a Moscow prison for the second time.
According to the newspaper, the Russian Foreign Ministry “linked the move to a complaint that its journalists didn’t get U.S. visas to travel with foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the United Nations in New York last month.”
“We strongly object to Russia’s ongoing failure to comply with its obligations under the Consular Convention to provide us consular access to detained U.S. citizens,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “Regardless of the hurdles, our team is focused on ensuring timely consular access to all U.S. nationals detained abroad.”
“When we denied access last week, there was a situation where we simply could not make any other decision. It [the access] will depend on the situation,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said. “We gave quite a coherent explanation for the reasons why we did so. We’ll see what happens next.”
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