The AEJ has joined partner media freedom groups to urge Russian authorities to release American journalist Evan Gershkovich immediately and to drop all charges against him.
The organisations of the Council of Europe’s Safety of Journalists Platform said the arrest and detention of Gershkovich is “reminiscent of practices of hostage-taking from the Soviet era and is wholly contrary to the Russian Federation’s obligations and commitments under international law and as a participating state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”
Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Russia, has been formally charged with espionage following his arrest on March 30 in Yekaterinburg.
He is the first American journalist detained in Russia on espionage charges since the end of the Cold War.
In a rare bipartisan statement, the U.S. Senate’s top two leaders demanded that Russia immediately release Gershkovich.
And U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed the case with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and is looking at elevating the issue inside the American government.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Gershkovich was collecting state secrets about the military industrial complex.
Both Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal have denied the charges and said he was working as a journalist.
A U.S. national born to Soviet emigrés and fluent Russian speaker, Gershkovich has reported from Russia since 2017 and has received official accreditation from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
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