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.
Sporting denims and a blue checkered shirt, Mr Gershkovich crossed his arms and smiled earlier than the beginning of the enchantment 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 in the course of 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 in the course of the temporary media look and Mr Gershkovich didn’t converse from contained in the glass defendant’s cage.
There’s little likelihood he will probably be launched forward of his trial, which might be months away.
The Wall Road 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 categorized defence data for the US authorities, however the particulars of the case have been stored 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 because the 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 Might 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 robust,” 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 mother and father 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 individuals,” she mentioned in a video interview with the Wall Road 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 america, 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 Shield Journalists mentioned.
“Gershkovich is a journalist, not a spy, and ought to be launched instantly and with out situations,” it added.
The arrest has raised hypothesis that Russia might desire a prisoner swap just like the one final 12 months wherein 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 seller imprisoned in america.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)