(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Evan Gershkovich, an American journalist working for the Wall Street Journal, has lost his latest appeal since he was arrested in Russia on espionage charges in March.
A Russian court has rejected Gershkovich’s request to be released from Moscow’s Lefortovo prison. He continues to await trial and could face up to 20 years behind bars for the espionage charges.
Gershkovich, a Moscow correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, was initially arrested after the FSB, Russia’s principal state security organization, claimed that he was attempting to uncover state secrets while traveling to the city of Yekaterinburg. Russian authorities have yet to provide details substantiating this accusation.
The court’s recent decision to deny Gershkovich’s request to be released reportedly came as no surprise, as the court had previously rejected the U.S. reporter’s request to be placed on house arrest with a restriction on movement in April.
The U.S. ambassador to Moscow has since accused the Russian government of “hostage diplomacy” after the judge’s recent refusal to release Gershkovich. The Wall Street Journal has stated that although the outcome was expected, “it is no less an outrage” that the reporter’s imprisonment continues to be upheld.
The escalation in “hostage diplomacy” by the Russian government comes after Brittney Griner, a basketball player for the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBA), was recently released from Russian prison after she was caught with cannabis oil while traveling into Russia. She was allowed to go free after the U.S. government made a deal to trade infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, imprisoned in the U.S., for Griner’s return.
The State Department has since officially designated Gerschkovich “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government, but efforts to free the reporter have so far failed.
The escalation may be happening in part due to the recent decline of U.S.-Russian relations, as Washington continues to aid Ukraine in its fight to repel Putin’s invasion of the country.
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