Thursday, Russia’s chief security service reportedly confirmed that it had jailed Wall Street Journal writer Evan Gershkovich for espionage.
On Wednesday, Mr. Gershkovich, a citizen of the United States who works as a reporter for the Moscow bureau of the Journal, was held in the city of Yekaterinburg while he was on a reporting trip there.
Following his appearance in court with a defense attorney provided by the state, Mr. Gershkovich was ordered to remain in detention until May 29, according to the press office of the court, which was reported by TASS. The authorities escorted Mr. Gershkovich to Moscow.
In Russia, espionage trials are frequently held behind closed doors, and it is extremely unusual for a judge to exonerate a prisoner in one of these cases. The proceedings of such a trial are likely to take months.
Because Mr. Gershkovich was detained and charged with the serious allegation of espionage rather than with lesser charges related to media laws or defaming the military, this case is likely to become a high-level diplomatic issue between Russia and the U.S. The allegation that Mr. Gershkovich was involved in espionage is a serious allegation.
As Mr. Gershkovich was working in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday afternoon, he lost touch with his editors and was unable to communicate with them.
After some time had passed, a post was published on Telegram that detailed a man with his face covered being hustled out of a restaurant in the city and placed into a waiting van.
It is not quite certain that the individual in question was Mr. Gershkovich.
When some time had passed, Mr. Gershkovich showed up again in Moscow, where he was assisted by a court-appointed attorney.