Russian court data: US journalist Evan Gershkovich appeals extension of detention on spying charges
MOSCOW (AP) — Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has appealed a three-month extention of his detention on espionage charges, a Russian court data website indicated Friday.
Gershkovich, a 31-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested in March while on a reporting trip in Russia. He, his employer and the U.S. government have denied the charges. A Moscow court on Tuesday extended his detention until Aug. 30.
According to the court website, the appeal was filed on Thursday. There was no information whether a date has been set for a hearing.
Gerhskovich’s case has been wrapped in secrecy. Russian authorities haven’t detailed what — if any — evidence they have gathered to support the espionage charges.
Various legal proceedings in the case have been closed to the media. State news agency Tass said Tuesday’s hearing was held behind closed doors because the reporter was accused of possession of “secret materials.”
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The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that Gershkovich’s parents, Soviet emigres living in New Jersey, were visiting Moscow and saw their son during the short hearing.
“I don’t know how to describe this happiness and this sadness at the same time,” the newspaper quoted the reporter’s mother, Ella Milman, as saying. She said Gershkovich looked relaxed and well, and that they communicated through smiles.
The U.S. State Department said at least one U.S. Embassy official also attended the hearing.
Gershkovich’s arrest has rattled journalists in the country and drawn outrage in the West.
The U.S. government declared Gershkovich to be wrongfully detained and demanded his immediate release. He’s being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.
U.S. Embassy officials were allowed to visit Gershkovich once in prison since his arrest in Yekaterinburg on March 29, but Russian authorities have denied two more recent requests to see him.