A Russian court on Tuesday rejected a complaint by American journalist Evan Gershkovich regarding the extension of his preventive detention until March 30 on espionage charges that he denies, according to the court’s press service.
Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg on charges of espionage that carry up to 20 years in prison.
This is the first time the journalist has appeared in court since Vladimir Putin’s infamous interview with Tucker Carlson in which the Russian president said Gershkovich’s release was possible.
‘If our partners take reciprocal measures. Special services are in contact with each other. “They are talking… I think an agreement can be reached,” Putin said in the widely criticized interview.
The latest court appearance also comes just days after Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was found dead in a penal colony in the Arctic Circle at the age of 47.
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich photographed inside the Moscow City Court on February 20.
Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal journalist, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg on charges of espionage.
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy delivers a statement to the Moscow City Court following Gershkovich’s hearing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it could be months before Gershkovich’s trial begins. Legal experts told the newspaper that Russian prosecutors have a lot of freedom, especially in espionage cases.
A guilty conviction could result in a sentence of between 10 and 20 years.
It emerged in December that the Biden administration made a major new offer aimed at securing the release of Gershkovich and fellow detainee Paul Whelan, but Russia rejected the offer, the State Department said Tuesday.
Spokesman Matthew Miller did not reveal the details of the offer or why Russia had rejected it, but the disclosure of the proposal was a new indication that Washington continues to try to negotiate with Moscow to bring both men home.
‘This was a new proposal, in recent weeks. It was an important proposal,” Miller said. “And it was rejected by the Russians, but it won’t deter us from continuing to do everything we can to try to bring them both home.”
Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan, has been imprisoned in Russia since his arrest in December 2018 on espionage-related charges that he and the U.S. government dispute. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
“They should never have been arrested in the first place. “They should be released immediately,” Miller said.
“But we have made a number of proposals, including a substantial one in recent weeks, and we will continue to work every day to bring Evan and Paul Whelan home. There is no previous higher priority for the Secretary of State. There is no higher priority for the president.”
In July 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that the United States had made a substantial proposal to Moscow to bring home WNBA star Brittney Griner and Whelan. Griner was eventually freed in December in a prisoner exchange with notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, but Whelan was not part of that deal.
Former US Marine Paul Whelan, detained and accused of espionage, lies inside a defendant’s cage during his verdict hearing in Moscow on June 15, 2020.
David Barnes was detained in Moscow in January 2022 shortly after arriving in the Russian capital
Last week, a Texas father of two was sentenced to 21 years in prison in Moscow on Tuesday after a court found him guilty of abusing his two children while in the United States.
David Barnes, 66, was first arrested in January 2022, shortly after arriving in Russia to visit his children and mother, his ex-wife, Svetlana Koptyaeva. At the time, Barnes was requesting visitation rights.
Koptyaeva was accused of illegally removing the children from their home in the United States, prompting an Interpol alert for the two children. The couple had a bitter divorce in which she accused him of sexually abusing her children.
His trial began in the fall of 2022, but was not held consecutively. It finally concluded this week. During the trial, Barnes testified on his own behalf, reports ABC News.
In response, her lawyer, Gleb Glinka, told the network that she was “horrified” by the sentence. “There was almost no evidence on which the court could base that verdict.”
Following the verdict, Koptyaeva rejected accusations that she had kidnapped her children. ‘I didn’t rob anyone. “I was just protecting my children,” she said.