Europe

Russia Extends American Journalist’s Detention for a Fifth Time

A court in Moscow on Tuesday extended the pretrial detention of an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal by three months, nearly a year to the day after he was detained on accusations of espionage. The United States government has said the charge is politically motivated and unfounded.

The reporter, Evan Gershkovich, 32, was ordered to stay in prison until at least June 30, according to a statement by the news service of the Moscow court system. It was the fifth time that Mr. Gershkovich’s detention had been extended since his arrest in March of last year during a reporting trip. In January, the court extended his detention until March 30.

Mr. Gershkovich, wearing dark denim jeans and a plaid shirt in court, stood with his hands in his pockets and listened to the latest ruling in a courthouse cage, according to a video posted with the statement. A few still images showed Mr. Gershkovich smiling through the glare of the cage. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in a Russian penal colony.

“This verdict to further prolong Evan’s detention feels particularly painful,” Lynne Tracy, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, said in a statement, noting the anniversary of his arrest. “The accusations against Evan are categorically untrue. They are not a different interpretation of circumstances, they are fiction.”

It can take up to one and a half years for cases like Mr. Gershkovich’s to reach trial. So far, the Russian government has not presented any evidence to support its claims, Ms. Tracy said, “no justification for Evan’s continued detention and no explanation as to why Evan doing his job as a journalist constituted a crime.”

Ms. Tracy said Mr. Gershkovich “has displayed remarkable resilience in strength” during his detention, and she called for his immediate release.

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