Jailed US reporter in Russian court to appeal detention

He and the US government strenuously deny the allegations

Russia US Detained Reporter Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | AP

Jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich, on Tuesday, appeared in a Moscow court to appeal his detention on spying charges, part of a sweeping Kremlin crackdown on dissent amid the war in Ukraine. He and the US government strenuously deny the allegations.

Journalists and supporters at the courthouse caught their first glimpse in weeks of the Wall Street Journal reporter, who is the first US correspondent since the Cold War to be detained in Russia for alleged spying.

Lynne Tracy, The US ambassador to Russia, had visited Gershkovich earlier. Tracey said that he appeared to be in "in good health". According to footage of the proceedings shown on Russian state television, Gershkovich was standing inside a see-through detention box, wearing jeans and a blue chequered shirt. 

His lawyers Tatyana Nozhkina and Maria Korchagina are challenging the detention. The 31-year-old has been accused of trying to obtain classified information about a Russian arms factory. The US government said that Gershkovich was 'wrongfully detained'. The designation means his case receives special attention from the State Department. 

Gershkovich is in pretrial detention until May 29-- the Russian government can extend this period. The Moscow City Court could uphold the detention, order him moved to another jail, allow him house arrest or grant him bail. According to Russian law, the court's final decision on the appeal must be made known to the public. 

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