Wall Street Journal reporter loses appeal in Russia and will stay in jail

A Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained in Russia on espionage charges has lost his appeal against his arrest, meaning he will stay in jail until at least the end of November.

Evan Gershkovich, wearing a blue shirt, T-shirt and jeans, appeared in a glass defendant’s cage at Moscow City Court on Tuesday as he once again appealed his release.

He stared at the cameras in court with a blank expression.

It was the second time in less than a month that the journalist had appeared before a judge after the Moscow court declined to hear his appeal in September owing to unspecified procedural violations.

The US Embassy in Moscow said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” that Gershkovich’s appeal was rejected, adding: “Evan should be released.”

The latest decision means Gershkovich, 31, will remain jailed at least until November 30, unless an appeal is heard in the meantime and he is released, though this is an unlikely outcome.

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The Wall Street Journal reporter lost his appeal and will have to remain in jail until at least the end of November (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The court proceedings are closed because prosecutors say details of the criminal case are classified.

Russia’s Federal Security Service alleged Gershkovich, “acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex”.

Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal deny the allegations, and the US government has declared him to be wrongfully detained.

Russian authorities have not detailed any evidence to support the espionage charges.

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Evan Gershkovich is being detained at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Gershkovich is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since 1986, when Nicholas Daniloff, a Moscow correspondent for US News and World Report, was arrested by the KGB.

Analysts have pointed out that Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after US-Russian tensions soared when Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

At least two US citizens arrested in Russia in recent years — including WNBA star Brittney Griner — have been exchanged for Russians jailed in the US.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has said it will consider a swap for Gershkovich only after a verdict in his trial.

In Russia, espionage trials can last for more than a year.

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