US reporter Evan Gershkovich to face trial in Russia on espionage prices | EUROtoday

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Russian prosecutors despatched US journalist Evan Gershkovich’s case to court docket on Thursday, paving the best way for him to be tried on espionage prices denied by his employer and the White House.

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The Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested in March 2023 whereas on a reporting journey to the Urals metropolis of Yekaterinburg and has been held in Moscow’s infamous Lefortovo jail since.

In an announcement Thursday, Russia’s Prosecutor General accused him of working for the CIA and gathering secret details about tank maker Uralvagonzavod within the Sverdlovsk area the place he was arrested.

It stated it had despatched a legal case towards him to Sverdlovsk Regional Court in Yekaterinburg “for consideration on its merits”, with out saying when the trial would happen.

Moscow had beforehand not offered any public particulars of its case towards Gershkovich, saying solely that he was “caught red-handed”.

Gershkovich turned the primary Western journalist for the reason that Soviet period to be arrested for spying in Russia when he was detained.

The 32-year-old faces as much as 20 years in jail if discovered responsible.

Wrongfully detained

Washington has accused Moscow of arresting US residents on baseless prices to make use of them as bargaining chips to safe the discharge of Russians convicted overseas.

The US authorities has declared Gershkovich as wrongfully detained, that means it successfully regards him as a political hostage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in February he wish to see Gershkovich launched as a part of a prisoner change.

In remarks to conservative American TV commentator Tucker Carlson, he stated talks between Russia and the United States a few attainable swap have been ongoing.

However, the Russian chief made clear he wished any deal to contain the discharge of a Russian jailed in Germany for killing a Chechen dissident.

Among different US residents detained in Russia is reporter Alsu Kurmasheva, detained final 12 months for failing to register as a “foreign agent”. Her employers denounced the case towards her as politically motivated.

Former US marine Paul Whelan, in jail in Russia since 2018 and serving a 16-year sentence on espionage prices, can be pushing to be included in any future prisoner change.

Gershkovich’s household advised AFP earlier this 12 months they have been relying on a “very personal” promise from President Joe Biden to carry him dwelling.

At Lefortovo jail, the reporter shares a small cell with one other inmate.

He will get an hour-long stroll in a small jail yard day-after-day, tries to remain match via train and depends on fruit and greens despatched by buddies to complement the meagre jail weight-reduction plan.