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RFE/RL: Moscow court arrests Wall Street Journal reporter on suspicion of 'espionage.'

by Dinara Khalilova March 30, 2023 3:53 PM 2 min read
Wall Street Journal reporter, Evan Gershkovich, who was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service. (The Wall Street Journal)
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Current Time, a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported on March 30 that the Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich previously detained by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), was arrested for two months by the Lefortovo court in Moscow.

According to the court's press service, cited by Current Time, Gershkovich was charged with espionage, potentially facing 12 to 20 years in prison.

Russian state-owned news outlet TASS reported that Gershkovich, accused of "espionage in the interests of the American government," has pleaded not guilty, and his case is labeled "top secret."

Earlier the same day, the FSB said it had detained Gershkovich in Yekaterinburg while he was "trying to obtain secret information" regarding "the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex."

The Wall Street Journal later commented on the reporter's arrest, saying it "vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich."

According to the Current Time, Gershkovich spent several weeks in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg before his detention. He was covering the attitude of Russians to the war against Ukraine and the recruitment of residents in Russia's state-backed private mercenary Wagner Group.

Evan Gershkovich has been reporting on Russia at the Journal's Moscow bureau since 2017. He was accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country's foreign ministry. Gershkovich previously worked for Agence France-Presse, The Moscow Times, and The New York Times.

In its crackdown on domestic media following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia passed a censorship law last March banning the media from publishing information about the war deemed false by the authorities.

As a result, many Russian news outlets went out of business or left the country, while foreign publications restricted reporting within Russia and recalled many employees.

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