A Russian court on Tuesday extended by three months the detention of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal journalist who was arrested in March on claims of spying that he denies.
“The court granted the investigator’s request to extend the measure of restraint in the form of detention until August 30,” state-run agency RIA Novosti reported, citing court officials.
The FSB arrested Gershkovich, a US citizen, on March 29 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on charges that carry a possible 20-year prison sentence. It accused him of collecting state secrets about the military industrial complex.
TASS said a remand hearing was under way at Moscow’s Lefortovo court. Gershkovich is currently remanded in pre-trial detention until May 29. A reporter for the American news network CNN tweeted that Gershkovich’s parents were at court for the hearing.
Gershkovich and the Journal both deny the espionage charges, which US President Joe Biden called illegal, and the United States has officially deemed him “wrongfully detained”.
The Kremlin has said Gershkovich, the first US journalist detained in Russia on espionage charges since the end of the Cold War, was caught “red-handed.”
The United States called for the immediate release of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on Tuesday after Russia’s security service sought to extend his detention.
“He shouldn’t be detained at all. Journalism is not a crime. He needs to be released immediately,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told CNN. “We’re still going to work very, very hard to see if we can get him home with his family where he belongs.”