Photo: Alexandra Astakhova / Mediazona
The Moscow City Court approved the arrest of The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow on suspicion of espionage. Thisis reported by the correspondent of "Mediazona" from the hall for broadcasts.
The decision to arrest Gershkovich was left in force, he remains in the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center. According to the publication, when asked by the judge whether it is necessary to translate the court decision into English for the journalist, the journalist replied: “No need, everything is clear, thank you very much.”
The meeting itself was held behind closed doors, the broadcast was turned on only at the time of the announcement of the judge's decision. Only the US Embassy delegation and ten journalists were allowed into the hall, who were previously selected by press secretary Vadim Polezhaev.
Gershkovich was detained in Yekaterinburg on March 30 and arrested for two months in a case of espionage and collecting information constituting a "state secret." The journalist faces up to 20 years in prison. So far, Russia has not granted US consular access to Gershkovich. The Kremlin claims the journalist was caught red-handed, but no evidence has been provided. The Wall Street Journal denies the allegations. The US State Department found that Gershkovich was wrongfully detained, which opens up the possibility for the US to negotiate on his behalf.
Lawyer Ivan Pavlov told The insider that in this way the authorities show that absolutely any journalist, both Russian and foreign, can fall under the article on espionage. Moscow hopes to exchange the “hostage” journalist for a Russian citizen detained on a similar charge, the lawyer stressed. Thus, Gershkovich will replenish Putin's "exchange fund" needed to return the arrested Russian spies. Read more about the practice of taking foreign hostages for subsequent exchange in The Insider's article “Catch and Exchange. How the FSB hunts for foreigners.
The Insider supports the demands of colleagues - independent media and journalists - to release Gershkovich and also considers the charges against him unfounded.