A Moscow court extended Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich’s pretrial detention to August 30, approving a request from Russia’s security services, state media reported.
The 31-year-old journalist has been held on espionage charges since the end of March — an allegation that the Journal and the U.S. government fiercely deny.
Gershkovich was detained by Russian agents while on a reporting trip in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on March 29, and is being held in Lefortovo prison, a facility that the Journal described as a “sterile facility carefully engineered to make its prisoners feel abandoned.”
The American journalist’s pretrial detention was set to expire on May 29.
According to Russia’s Criminal Procedure Code, detainees can be held during pretrial for up to 12 months with the court’s permission. Like in other countries, espionage trials are typically heard behind closed doors.
Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine who was convicted of espionage in 2020 is now serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian penal colony. He was in pretrial custody for 15 months, after his initial two-month detention was extended five times.
In a recently published interview with CNN, Whelan, from prison, told the network that he is confident that the "wheels are turning" to secure his release.
Whelan, whose family and the U.S. government deny allegations that he is a spy, has been unable to take part in prisoner swaps that sent wrongfully detained Americans like Trevor Reed and Brittney Griner home.
Speaking to CNN, the former U.S. Marine said that he has concerns about being left behind again, with Gershkovich now also in detention.