U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich was denied bail at a Moscow court on Tuesday as authorities rejected an appeal against his pre-trial detention.
Late last month The Wall Street Journal reporter was charged with spying during a reporting trip in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. It marked the first time Moscow has accused a U.S. journalist of espionage since the Soviet era.
Gershkovich was photographed standing in a glass and metal cage in the courtroom, the first time he had been seen in public since March 30. Dressed in a blue checked shirt and jeans, he gave a quick smile to friends during the appearance, in which he largely stood silent with his arms folded.
When the judge said his detention would continue, the journalist, responding in Russian, said “all understood. Thank you very much,” according to an AFP report.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Gershkovich in Yakertinburg in March, accusing the journalist of “espionage.” If convicted, he could face a 20-year sentence in a Russian prison.
The U.S. government and the Journal have both denied the claims, with the newspaper saying in a statement at the time that they were seeking “the immediate release of our trusted and unbiased reporter.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy attended Gershkovich’s court appearance, and CNN reported that she saw him Monday. Tracy said Gershkovich is strong and healthy.
Gershkovich’s lawyer, Maria Korchagina, told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing that he has a “fighting spirit,” adding “he’s working out and he knows that people are supporting him.”
Gershkovich was a reporter with The New York Times, AFP, and The Moscow Times before joining the Journal in 2022.