Wrongfully Imprisoned WSJ Journalist Evan Gershkovich Indicted and Set for Trial in Russia

“Russia’s latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous,” publisher Almar Latour and editor-in-chief Emma Tucker say

US journalist Evan Gershkovich
Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich talks with his lawyers at the first court of appeal in Moscow (Credit: Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP)

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held in Russia for over a year on false espionage charges, was indicted today and set to be tried.

“Russia’s latest move toward a sham trial is, while expected, deeply disappointing and still no less outrageous,” WSJ publisher Almar Latour and editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said in a statement Thursday.

The statement further read, “Evan Gershkovich is facing a false and baseless charge … Evan has spent 441 days wrongfully detained in a Russian prison for simply doing his job. Evan is a journalist. The Russian regime’s smearing of Evan is repugnant, disgusting and based on calculated and transparent lies.”

Latour and Tucker concluded with, “Journalism is not a crime. Evan’s case is an assault on free press.”

The Biden administration has been trying to secure Gershkovich’s release, as well as that of a fellow U.S. citizen, former Marine Paul Whelan.

“We have been clear from the start that Evan has done nothing wrong and never should have been arrested in the first place,” a senior administration official told the WSJ on Thursday.

“Journalism is not a crime. We expect Russian authorities to continue to provide consular access to Evan and Embassy Moscow will make efforts to attend any future proceedings. Russia should stop using individuals like Evan Gershkovich or Paul Whelan as bargaining chips.  They should both be released immediately,” the official continued.

Roger Carstens, the chief U.S. hostage diplomat, said on Thursday that the administration is not deterred by Russia’s actions against Gershkovich. “This doesn’t stop or slow us down,” he said. 

Gershkovich is kept in his cell at Lefortovo prison in Moscow for 23 hours a day, being let out only to meet with his lawyers.

According to the WSJ, the trial is expected to be held privately as it involves classified information. It’s likely to take place in Yekaterinburg, where Gershkovich was first arrested. He was on a reporting assignment for the Journal when Russian authorities accused him of working for the CIA.

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