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Moscow court rejects appeal of jailed American journalist

A Moscow court on Tuesday refused to hear Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich’s appeal against a decision extending his pretrial detention by three months, according to Russian state media.

Gershkovich has been in custody since his arrest in March on espionage charges that he, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny. The US government said the journalist was wrongly detained.

This court decision marks the latest setback in the legal battle of the journalist, whose pre-trial detention has been extended twice, the first in May.

This pre-trial detention was due to expire on May 29, but it was extended until August and then again until November.

His appeal having been rejected, his pre-trial detention will now last at least until November 30.

No date has been set for his trial.

Gershkovich has failed in two previous appeals against his pre-trial detention.

Press freedom groups condemned the court’s latest ruling.

“The latest rejection of Evan Gershkovich’s appeal is disappointing but not surprising. Gershkovich is a hostage of the Kremlin, so we cannot expect a remedy from the Russian justice system,” Clayton Weimers, director of the U.S. office of Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement.

Gershkovich appeared in public Tuesday for the first time in months during the court hearing. In courtroom photos, he appeared in a glass box surrounded by Russian security officers with their faces covered.

Gershkovich’s lawyers tried to challenge the extension of his pretrial detention, but the judge refused to consider their appeal, citing unspecified procedural violations.

Wearing a yellow sweatshirt and jeans, he smiled occasionally at members of the media who were briefly allowed into the courtroom.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to an email from VOA seeking comment.

The US Ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, was present at the hearing on Tuesday.

“The American position remains unshakeable. The accusations against Evan are baseless. The Russian government imprisoned Evan simply because he was doing his job. Journalism is not a crime,” Tracy told reporters outside the courthouse.

“Evan is fully aware of the seriousness of his situation, but he remains remarkably strong,” Tracy added.

The ambassador visited Gershkovich for the last time in prison on Friday. After his visit, the US Embassy in Russia said: “He remains strong and follows the news. »

USA voanews

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