June 14, 2024

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Russia: An American Journalist Detained for “Spying”

Russia: An American Journalist Detained for “Spying”

The arrest of journalist Ivan Gershkovich comes amid increased repression of the press in Russia following an attack in Ukraine that has severely strained relations between Moscow and Washington.

The Russian Security Services (FSB) announced the arrest of the reporter in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals region, on suspicion of espionage, the Kremlin confirmed. Active.

A 31-year-old Russian-speaking reporter, Mr. Gershkovich denied the charges against him during a hearing in a Moscow court, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Nevertheless, the American journalist has been held in pre-trial detention until May 29, a move that could be extended pending a possible trial.

The Russian-speaking journalist previously worked as a correspondent in Moscow for AFP and the Moscow Times.

Photo: Getty Images/-

According to Doss, the case is closed SecretIt restricts the disclosure of information about it.

The only details available at this stage are: FSB announced that Illegal activity was thwarted By arresting Evan Gershkovich in Ekaterinburg on an unspecified date.

Russian security services say they suspect him Espionage for America’s benefitHe was specifically accused of gathering information About an organization in the military-industrial complex Russian.

According to Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code, the journalist faces up to 20 years in prison.

Before joining the US newspaper in 2022, Mr. Gershkovich was its correspondentAFP In Moscow, before that, from an English-language newspaper Moscow Times. He is of Russian descent and his parents live in the United States.

An arrest Unacceptable

The White House condemned the arrest Unacceptable. We are deeply troubled by the high-profile detention of an American journalistU.S. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Anthony Blinken said in a press release.

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The accusation of espionage is ridiculousWhite House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. It is unacceptable for the Russian government to target American citizens.

The State Department said it had contacted Russia to seek consular access to the detained journalist. The White House has promised to stay in touch with his family.

Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby at a press conference at the White House.

Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby at a press conference at the White House.

Photo: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

President Joe Biden has been notified of the situation, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a press conference. The latter also mentioned speaking to journalists covering the war in Ukraine.

We understand that you all do important work and that you are willing to take risks to do it. We respect that. But that doesn’t change our deep concern about the American presence In Russia,” Kirby said.

The Wall Street Journal They forcefully refuse

On his site, The Wall Street Journal called for the release of its journalist and Forcefully refused Spy charges.

Russia has crossed the Rubicon and sent a clear signal to foreign reporters that they cannot escape the ongoing purge of independent media.The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reacted.

i’NGO Reporters Without Borders reported Be careful of It seems like a revenge move.

Ignoring the criticism, the Kremlin warned against any retaliation against Russian media in the United States.

Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has passed several laws that coordinate press inquiries into some of the most sensitive aspects of espionage or impose harsh prison sentences for any criticism.

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New Russian legislation […] Allows anyone interested in military affairs to be imprisoned for 20 yearsIndependent Russian analyst Tatiana Stanovaïa, who heads the R.Politik analytical center, notes.

According to Ms. Stanovaya, this arrest is a The Kremlin’s decision was considered Who wants to use it Hostage to lobby President Biden has opened discussions on a prisoner exchange.

Other Americans were arrested

At a press conference at the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre urged all US citizens not to travel to Russia and those living there or traveling there to leave the territory immediately.

Several Americans are already detained in Russia, one of whom, Paul Whelan, is serving a 16-year prison sentence. Spying In a case that the interested party and Washington consider fabricated.

The ex-military man was arrested in 2018 and negotiations have been going on for years to release him.

Mr.  Close-up of Velan's grave-looking face.

Paul Whelan was charged with espionage in a Moscow city court in Russia on June 15, 2020. (file image)

Photo: Associated Press/Sofia Santurskaya

Arresting foreigners, particularly Americans, is not a new tactic for Mr. Putin and the Russian authoritiesJohn blasted Kirby, saying it was nothing new for the Russian president An attack on a free and independent press.

Paul Whelan’s brother called on Joe Biden’s government to prioritize the release of Americans detained abroad.

Paul and Mr. I hope the US government will act quickly and decisively so that the Gershkovich’s will soon be reunited with their families and loved ones.He said in a statement.

The latest prisoner exchange between Moscow and Washington took place in December, when Russia returned American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was being held on drug charges, in exchange for the release of US-imprisoned arms dealer Victor Pote.

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