Tuesday, May 21, 2024

US envoy to Russia visits detained WSJ reporter in prison

Washington's Ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, on Monday visited arrested Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, the US embassy wrote on Twitter.

“I visited WSJ’s Evan Gershkovich today at Lefortovo Prison – the first time we’ve been permitted access to him since his wrongful detention more than two weeks ago,” Tracy said in the tweet.

“He is in good health and remains strong. We reiterate our call for his immediate release,” the post added.

The US designated Gershkovich as wrongfully detained earlier this month, which gives further backing to the assertions by the US government and the Wall Street Journal that the espionage charges against the reporter are baseless. It will also empower the Joe Biden administration to explore avenues such as a prisoner swap to try to secure Gershkovich’s release.

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said the US is “certainly grateful” for consular access to the journalist.

“As I think you saw from the embassy in Moscow, he appears to be in good health. And considering the circumstances, in relatively good spirits,” he stated.

Kirby told reporters that the administration wants “to have regular and routine ability” for consular access “to see Evan and to talk to Evan.”

““That’s the goal,” he continued, adding, ”It was good to see him today and, again, we want to make sure we can continue to do that.”

Gershkovich plans to appeal against his arrest and detention in Moscow’s notorious former KGB prison.

According to a public Russian judicial document, Lefortovo District Court will hear a complaint on Tuesday filed by Gershkovich against the decision to keep him in custody in Lefortovo prison while the espionage case against him is being investigated.

The Lefortovo prison was run in Soviet times by the KGB but is now operated by the Federal Penitentiary Service.

The Kremlin has announced that Gershkovich was carrying out espionage “under the cover” of journalism.

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