US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested for alleged espionage in Russia, has failed in court with an appeal against his detention. The Moscow City Court on Tuesday rejected the defense's motion to release the correspondent of the renowned Wall Street Journal. It thus confirmed the detention initially scheduled until May 29, as reported by the Interfax news agency. Gershkovich's lawyer, Tatyana Noschkina, said the 32-year-old denied the allegations.
On Monday, US Ambassador Lynne Tracy visited the reporter for the first time since his arrest at the notorious Lefortovo prison in Moscow at the end of March. "He feels good and stays strong," said the diplomat on the embassy's Twitter channel. At the same time, she reiterated the call for the journalist's "immediate release".
The correspondent was arrested by the Russian secret service FSB at the end of March in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals. According to the FSB, he is said to have collected secret information for US agencies. The US newspaper had rejected this and emphasized that Gershkovich had pursued his journalistic work with his accreditation from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
If convicted, the man with Russian roots faces up to 20 years in prison. The case further strained the already strained relations between Washington and Moscow. Moscow, however, insists on Gershkovich's guilt. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that he was "caught in the act" while spying on behalf of the US government. The White House denies these unproven allegations.