New York, November 28, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a Russian court’s decision on Tuesday to extend the pretrial detention of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich until January 30, 2024.
“While the latest extension of the detention of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich—who has been wrongly detained in Russia for the past eight months—was expected, it is no less outrageous,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator. “Russian authorities must immediately release Gershkovich, drop all charges against him, and stop prosecuting the press for their work.”
On Tuesday, November 28, a Moscow court extended Gershkovich’s detention by two months, according to the joint press service of the Moscow courts. The court’s ruling, which was attended by officials from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, marks the third time that Russian authorities have extended Gershkovich’s pretrial detention since his arrest on March 29.
The Wall Street Journal’s Moscow-based reporter was arrested on espionage charges while on a reporting trip in the central city of Yekaterinburg. He faces up to 20 years in prison, according to the Russian criminal code, and is the first American journalist to face such accusations by Russia since the end of the Cold War.
The Wall Street Journal has strongly denied the allegations that Gershkovich is a spy for the U.S. government. “Evan has now been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 250 days, and every day is a day too long,” the Wall Street Journal said in a Tuesday statement.
On April 10, the U.S. government designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained” by Russia, a status that unlocks a broad U.S. government effort to free him, and called for his immediate release.
On October 17, Gershkovich met with Lynne Tracy, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, in the fifth such visit since his detention. On November 15, chargé d’affaires from the U.S. Embassy in Russia, Stephanie Holmes, visited the journalist.
On October 18, Russian authorities detained Alsu Kurmasheva, a U.S.-Russian journalist with the Tatar-Bashkir service of U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) on charges of failing to register herself as a foreign agent, making her the second U.S. journalist to be held in Russian jails after Gershkovich. If found guilty, Kurmasheva faces up to five years in prison, according to Russia’s criminal code.
Russia held at least 19 journalists in prison on December 1, 2022, when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census.