Closed-door espionage trial of US journalist starts in Russia

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun27,2024
Key Points
  • The journalist, his publication and the US government all reject the allegations made by the prosecution.
  • He was arrested in March 2023, while reportedly gathering information on a Russian arms supplier.
  • After several hours, the court decided to postpone the process, with the next session planned for 13 August.
The trial of United States journalist Evan Gershkovich in Russia has started.
The Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested over a year ago by Russian authorities for allegedly attempting to look into sensitive information about the Russian military and leak it back to the US.
It is being alleged Gershkovich is a government spy, an accusation US authorities say there is no evidence to support.

He appeared in court with a shaven head, wearing an open-necked shirt, and smiled faintly towards some of the journalists who were permitted to briefly take images of him before the process started.

Summarising the charges for reporters, prosecutor Mikael Ozdoyev said Gershkovich was following instructions from the CIA to collect “secret information about the activities of a defence enterprise regarding the production and repair of military equipment”.
The Wall Street Journal has declined to comment on accusations that Gershkovich was reporting on a company based in the Urals region that was supplying tanks to Russia for their .

The trial, in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, went on for several hours until the judge decided to postpone proceedings to 13 August.

Western reporters face prosecution in Russia

Gershkovich has already spent 16 months in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison and it remains unknown how much longer he will be forced to remain.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is open to including the journalist in a prisoner exchange deal with the US.

Gershkovich is not the first reporter to face prosecution in Russia since the Ukraine war started. Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested in 2023 for allegedly violating the country’s ‘foreign agent’ law and spreading false news about the military, an accusation she has denied.

Many nations ordered their media representatives to withdraw from Russia after the start of its war with Ukraine.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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