Russia Extends Sentence of Jailed US Journalist

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained by Russian authorities on spying charges. The US denies the charges and calls for his immediate release.

A Russian court on Tuesday extended the jail sentence of imprisoned US reporter Evan Gershkovich by three months, Russian news agencies reported.

Gershkovich has been accused of collecting state secrets about Russia’s military industrial complex, which he denies. The charges carry a possible 20-year prison sentence.

What we know about the Gershkovich hearing

Moscow says the pretrial investigation was held behind closed doors because of the sensitivity of the case. Court documents have not been released either.

Gershkovich’s parents were at the Lefortovo court in Moscow for the hearing, according to a CNN reporter who was present.

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller in a briefing said representatives from the US embassy in Moscow were also in attendance but were unable to speak with Gershkovich.

The 31-year-old reporter who covered Russia and Ukraine for the Wall Street Journal remains in custody at Lefortovo prison as he awaits a trial.

His appeal against a decision to keep him behind bars as he waits for a trial start date was denied in April.

US calls for Gershkovich’s immediate release

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Tuesday reiterated his calls for Gershkovich to be released.

“He shouldn’t be detained at all. Journalism is not a crime. He needs to be released immediately,” 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.”

Kirby also said the United States wants consular access to Gershkovich, who became the first American to be detained in Russia on spying charges since the Cold War.

He has been only allowed visits from his Russian lawyers so far.

This article was originally published on DW