Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court on Tuesday to demand his release from Russian prison while he appeals his espionage case.
However, the Russian court rejected his attempt to be released and sent the case back to a lower court for “procedural violations.” The move leaves Gershkovich31, in prison until at least November 30.
During the hearing, Gershkovich was seen in the defendant’s glass cage, smiling at his fellow journalists and wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans.
Gershkovich was arrested in March during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow, and has been held in Russian prisons ever since.
Russian authorities accuse him of gathering classified information, a claim that Gershkovich, the Journal and the U.S. government deny — and which could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in a Moscow court on Tuesday to demand his release from prison on espionage charges
The court rejected his appeal and sent the case back to a lower court for unspecified “procedural violations.”
Dozens of journalists and supporters at the courthouse got their first glimpse in weeks of the Wall Street Journal reporter, who became the first U.S. correspondent to be jailed in Russia for alleged espionage since the Cold War.
The US government has declared him wrongfully imprisoned, while Russian authorities have provided no evidence to support the espionage allegations.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy paid her fourth visit to Gershkovich on Friday and emphasized the importance of his case.
Currently held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, known for its harsh conditions, he is the first American reporter to face such charges in Russia since 1986.
He is the first American reporter to be charged with espionage in Russia since Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for US News and World Report, was arrested in 1986.
Some analysts speculate that Moscow could use imprisoned Americans as leverage amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia, as previous exchanges have involved American citizens imprisoned in Russia.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said it would only consider a swap after Gershkovich’s trial, which could take over a year in Russia.
Gershkovich was charged with espionage in Russia and formally denied it in April
Gershkovich, 31, is expected to remain in prison until November 30
Gershkovich was arrested in March during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg, about 1,200 miles east of Moscow
During the hearing, Gershkovich was seen in the defendant’s glass cage, smiling at his fellow journalists and wearing a yellow sweater and blue jeans
Russian authorities accuse him of collecting classified information, a claim that both Gershkovich, the Journal and the U.S. government deny
US Ambassador Lynne Tracy speaks to the media outside the Moscow City Court after a hearing to consider an appeal by US journalist Evan Gershkovich
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy paid her fourth visit to Gershkovich on Friday and emphasized the importance of his case
Meanwhile, Gershkovich is being held in a notorious Moscow prison, Lefortovo, where mass executions once took place during Stalin’s Great Purge
Gershkovich last appeared in court in August, when a judge ruled he must remain in prison until the end of November.
Gershkovich arrived at a court hearing in a white prison van to extend his arrest and was led out of the vehicle handcuffed in jeans, sneakers and a shirt.
Journalists outside the court were not allowed to attend the proceedings, which took place behind closed doors due to the secrecy surrounding the details of the criminal proceedings.
His parents called on world leaders to pressure Russia to release him. They appeared in an interview with ABC back in July.
Gershkovich’s parents said Joe Biden promised he would “do whatever it takes” to free their son.
The 32-year-old reporter’s parents also said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had made similar assurances, claiming he would “not rest” until their son returned.
Since his arrest on espionage charges on March 29 while reporting on the Wagner Group, Gershkovich has spent more than five months in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison.
Mikhail Gershkovich and Ella Milman met while working in New York after escaping the Soviet Union in 1979 and raised Evan and his sister in New Jersey.
Gershkovich’s parents said President Joe Biden assured them he would “do whatever it takes” to free their son from Russian captivity
Ella Milman, Gershkovich’s mother, leaves a Russian court on June 22 after a hearing to consider an appeal against her son’s detention
Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on June 22
Gershkovich in Russia. Gershkovich was sent to Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison, which dates back to Tsarist times and has been a terrible symbol of oppression since Soviet times
Pictured, second from right, Gershkovich
In an interview with ABC News, the two provided an update on Gershkovich’s well-being and their ongoing discussions with U.S. officials.
“President Biden spoke to us and promised us that he would do whatever it took.” “He spoke to us as parents and told us that he understood our pain,” Millman said.
Mikhail Gershkovich reiterated the support the couple received from Biden, saying the president’s commitment was reassuring and credible.
“President Biden has said it is a personal matter for him, because of his son, and that brings us great comfort,” he said.
Millman stated that they have not only spoken to Biden since her son’s arrest.
“We also met with Secretary Blinken. “He showed us his map with the names of every unjustly imprisoned American around the world,” she said.
“Evan’s name was also on that list, and he promised us that he wouldn’t rest until all the names were taken off his card.”
Since his arrest in March, his parents have made several trips to Russia. They attended a court hearing last month where it was decided he would remain in prison until at least August last year.