Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in Russia on espionage charges, will continue to be detained. On Tuesday, a Moscow court declined to hear his appeal against the ruling that extended his detention by three months. Gershkovich was taken prisoner earlier this year when he was arrested on false charges of espionage. Despite the U.S. government and the Wall Street Journal denying his charges, Gershkovich continues to be held at the Lefortovo prison, which is infamous for its near-isolation and harsh treatment of prisoners.
The New York Times reports “Mr. Gershkovich’s lawyers attempted to challenge on Tuesday the extension of his pretrial detention, but the judge declined to consider their appeal at a brief session, citing unspecified procedural violations, according to the court’s website. If convicted, Mr. Gershkovich would face up to 20 years in a Russian penal colony.
Gershkovich was last seen in June during a court appearance shortly after being detained. He was standing in a glass box surrounded by Russian guards.
Gershkovich’s family has appealed to world leaders and the United Nations to help secure his release. A prisoner exchange, such as one for American basketball star Brittney Griner who was charged for being in possession of cannabis, would not be able to take place until a verdict is reached. Although a date has not yet been set for his trial, the Biden administration is working on getting Gershkovich an early release.