Evan Gershkovich
A Russian court extended the pretrial detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, by three months on May 23, 2023. (AFP/Dimitar Dilkoff)

Russian court extends detention of US journalist Evan Gershkovich by 3 months

Paris, May 23, 2023-–In response to a Russian court extending the pretrial detention of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich by three months on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:

“CPJ strongly condemns the extension of the detention of Evan Gershkovich, who has already been held in a Russian prison for nearly two months for simply doing his job as a journalist,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Russian authorities should immediately release Gershkovich, drop all charges against him, and stop prosecuting members of the press for their work.”

On Tuesday, May 23, a Moscow court held a closed-door hearing and granted the Russian Federal Security Service’s request to extend Gershkovich’s detention until August 30. The hearing was not announced in advance and lasted less than an hour

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow tweeted that it was “deeply concerned” by the decision, adding that the Russian Foreign Ministry had recently rejected two requests for consular visits to the journalist. 

Gershkovich, a Moscow-based reporter with The Wall Street Journal, was detained on March 29 while on a reporting trip in the city of Yekaterinburg. On March 30, a Moscow court ordered him to be held in pretrial detention until May 29 on charges of spying for the U.S. government. If convicted, Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Wall Street Journal has strongly denied the espionage allegations. On April 10, the U.S. government designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained” by Russia.

At least 19 journalists were behind bars in Russia on December 1, 2022, when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census.