February 22, 2024

22.02.2024 – Russian Court Orders Continued Detention of US Reporter

On Tuesday 20 February 2024 in Moscow (Москва), Russia, a court has upheld the detention of Wall Street Journal (https://www.wsj.com/) journalist Evan Gershkovich until 30 March 2024, refusing an appeal against the extension of his pre-trial detention.

Gershkovich, whose arrest occurred during a reporting trip to Yekaterinburg (Екатеринбург), Russia on 29 March 2023, faces espionage charges that he and his employer vehemently deny. Gershkovich was detained by the Federal Security Service (Федеральная служба безопасности Российской Федерации) with allegations of possessing information on a “Russian defense enterprise.” Subsequently transferred to Moscow, he was formally arrested on 29 May 2023 and taken to Lefortovo Prison in Moscow, Russia.

Russian authorities never present any evidence to substantiate the allegations against him.

The case has garnered widespread attention, prompting international condemnation and calls for Gershkovich’s immediate release.

Gershkovich’s detention is emblematic of broader concerns regarding press freedom and the treatment of foreigners in Russia.

The recent designation of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ( RFERL – https://www.rferl.org/) as an “undesirable” organization by the Russian Justice Ministry underscores the government’s crackdown on independent media.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the continued detention of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by the Russian authorities. The lack of transparency surrounding his arrest and the absence of evidence supporting the allegations raise serious concerns about press freedom and the protection of journalists’ rights. SEEMO calls for the immediate release of Gershkovich, emphasizing the vital role journalists play in informing the public and fostering open discourse. SEEMO urges Russian authorities to uphold international standards, respect journalistic integrity, and ensure the safety of media professionals working within their jurisdiction.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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