US reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared at a Moscow court docket on Tuesday, within the first partly open listening to since his arrest for alleged espionage, in a case that has drawn worldwide condemnation.
Carrying denims and a blue checkered shirt, Mr Gershkovich crossed his arms and smiled earlier than the beginning of the attraction listening to in opposition to his pre-trial detention.
US ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy was additionally within the courtroom, however she was ushered out together with the press throughout the listening to itself.
The press will solely be allowed again in to listen to the choice on the finish of the listening to.
No questions have been allowed throughout the transient media look and Mr Gershkovich didn’t communicate from contained in the glass defendant’s cage.
There’s little likelihood he shall be launched forward of his trial, which might be months away.
The Wall Avenue Journal reporter, a US-born son of Soviet Jewish emigres, was arrested final month by Russia’s FSB safety service throughout a reporting journey within the Urals metropolis of Yekaterinburg.
The FSB mentioned the 31-year-old tried to acquire categorised defence data for the US authorities, however the particulars of the case have been saved prime secret.
Mr Gershkovich has firmly rejected the costs, which carry a most sentence of 20 years in jail.
Gershkovich, who has additionally labored for AFP, is the primary overseas journalist arrested on spying allegations for the reason that collapse of the Soviet Union.
Since his arrest on March 29, Gershkovich has appeared in court docket solely as soon as earlier than — at a closed custody listening to on March 30.
He was remanded in custody till Could 29 and is being held on the Lefortovo jail in Moscow, the place many high-profile prisoners accused of treason and espionage have been held.
“He’s in good well being and stays sturdy,” US ambassador Tracy was quoted by the US embassy as saying after visiting him on Monday.
In his first contact with the surface world, Gershkovich wrote a handwritten letter to his dad and mom in Russian. “I’m not shedding hope,” it learn.
His mom Ella Milman mentioned he “felt it was his obligation to report” from Russia.
“He loves Russian folks,” she mentioned in a video interview with the Wall Avenue Journal.
US President Joe Biden has referred to as his imprisonment “completely unlawful”.
Greater than three dozen information organisations have additionally signed a letter to the Russian ambassador in the US, denouncing “unfounded espionage costs”.
“Gershkovich’s unwarranted and unjust arrest is a major escalation in your authorities’s anti-press actions,” the letter launched by the Committee to Defend Journalists mentioned.
“Gershkovich is a journalist, not a spy, and must be launched instantly and with out circumstances,” it added.
The arrest has raised hypothesis that Russia might need a prisoner swap just like the one final yr during which Russia launched US basketball star Brittney Griner, who had been arrested over traces of hashish present in her possession.
She was exchanged for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms supplier imprisoned in the US.
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