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Evan Gershkovich

Moscow court extends detention of US reporter Gershkovich

Moscow court extends detention of US reporter Gershkovich
US journalist Evan Gershkovich (R) is escorted from the Lefortovsky Court building in Moscow, Russia, 26 January 2024. A Moscow court will decide on January 26 whether to extend the pre-trial detention of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained last March on spying charges during a reporting trip to the Urals. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, March 26 (Reuters) - Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, accused by Russia of spying, had his pre-trial detention extended by three months on Tuesday to June 30, a Moscow court said.

Gershkovich, his paper and the U.S. government all strongly deny the charges, which carry a sentence of up to 20 years in jail.

Tuesday’s hearing was closed to media but the Moscow court service published photographs and a brief video showing Gershkovich standing in a glass box in the courtroom. He appeared relaxed and was smiling.

Friday will mark the first anniversary of Gershkovich’s arrest in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. He has failed in repeated appeals against his detention, which has already been extended several times. No date has been set for his trial.

U.S. Ambassador Lynne Tracy visited the 32-year-old reporter in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison last week. The embassy said at the time: “Evan remains strong and resilient, but it is a tragedy that he is awaiting trial for a crime he did not commit.”

Washington has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to bring home Gershkovich and ex-Marine Paul Whelan, convicted in 2020 and serving 16 years in a Russian penal colony on spying charges that he too denies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Gershkovich could be released at some point in exchange for a Russian prisoner held abroad, but no such deal has so far materialised.

(Reporting by Reuters, writing by Mark Trevelyan, editing by Nick Macfie)

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