(LONDON) — A Russian judge denied the appeal of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been charged with spying, in a Moscow court on Tuesday.
The reporter, a correspondent with the paper’s Moscow bureau, stands accused of “acting on the instructions of the American side” and collecting state secrets about the military.
Moscow City Court was expected to hear an appeal of the espionage charge from Gershkovich’s legal team, Tatyana Nozhkina and Maria Korchagina of the ZKS law firm, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gershkovich arrived after noon local time, wearing a checkered shirt and jeans. He stood inside a glass detention area within the courtroom, a standard practice for criminal defendants in the Russian court system.
Lynne Tracy, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, was present in the courtroom. Members of the press were escorted out of the courtroom and into a nearby viewing area before the hearing began.
Russia’s FSB intelligence agency said on March 30 that it had detained the WSJ journalist for spying.
“It is established that Evan Gershkovich, acting on the instruction of the American side, was collecting information consisting of state secrets, about the activity of one of the enterprises of the Russian military industrial complex. He was arrested in Ekaterinburg during an attempt to receive secret information,” according to Interfax, a Russian state-affiliated news agency, which quoted FSB officials.
The Wall Street Journal said the same day that it “vehemently denies” the spying allegations brought by Russia’s intelligence service against its reporter.
The paper “seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter,” a WSJ spokesperson said in a statement, adding, “We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.”
“He is a distinguished journalist and his arrest is an attack on a free press and it should spur outrage in all free people and governments around the world,” Emma Tucker, WSJ editor-in-chief, and Almar Latour, WSJ publisher and Dow Jones CEO, said in a joint statement.
U.S. officials on April 10 said they determined Gershkovich had being “wrongfully detained” by Russia, a designation that would allow the U.S. government to more aggressively advocate for his freedom.
Tracy visited the detained reporter on Monday, according to the State Department.
“I can report based on what Ambassador Tracy has said, he’s in good health and good spirits considering the circumstances,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters. “We continue to call for his immediate release from this unjust detention.”
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