06-13-2024, 4:08 PM

U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich will face trial in Russia, accused of espionage

Evan Gershkovich - Video Screenshot

Authorities announced on Thursday that U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained for over a year in Russia on charges of espionage, will face trial in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains.

The Prosecutor General's office of Russia stated that Gershkovich is charged with collecting confidential information for the CIA from Uralvagonzavod, a plant in the Sverdlovsk region known for manufacturing and repairing military equipment. This statement marks the first public disclosure of the specific allegations against him.

Both the U.S. government and his employer, the Wall Street Journal, have strongly refuted the accusations. The U.S. State Department labeled Gershkovich as wrongfully detained less than two weeks following his arrest, demanding his immediate release.

According to the Russian Prosecutor General's office, the indictment was formally approved on Thursday, following Gershkovich's initial detainment over a year ago. He could be sentenced to as many as 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Currently, Gershkovich is held in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison, noted for its stringent conditions. Despite multiple appeals, all have been denied, and it was previously disclosed that his pretrial detention is extended until at least June 30.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Thursday said the allegations against Gershkovich have “absolutely zero credibility.”

“We have been clear from the start that Evan has done nothing wrong. He should never have been arrested in the first place. Journalism is not a crime. The charges against him are false, and the Russian government knows that they’re false. He should be released immediately,” Miller said at a State Department briefing.

Reporters Without Borders, an international group promoting press freedom, denounced Gershkovich’s indictment. “The espionage accusations must be abandoned and Evan immediately liberated,” it said in a statement.

US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy, speaking after Gershkovich’s pre-trial detention was extended in March, said: “Evan’s case is not about evidence, due process, or rule of law. It is about using American citizens as pawns to achieve political ends.” She called on the Kremlin “to let Evan go.”

Add comment