US reporter Gershkovich to be tried on spying charges, Russia says

AFP , Thursday 13 Jun 2024

US reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in Russia in March 2023 on espionage charges he and his employers have rejected as false, is to face trial, prosecutors Thursday.

US reporter -  Russia
File photo: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, left, stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the First Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 23, 2024. AP

 

His trial will take place in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, they said.

Russia's Prosecutor General accused Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, of working for the CIA and collecting "secret information" about tank maker Uralvagonzavod in the Sverdlovsk region where he was arrested.

Gershkovich, his employer and the White House deny the espionage charges as false. He has been held in Moscow's notorious Lefortovo prison since he was detained.

The prosecutors said his case had been sent to "Sverdlovsk Regional Court for consideration".

He is the first Western journalist since the Soviet era to be arrested by Moscow on spying charges.

Russia has said there are discussions behind the scenes on a possible prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich.

President Vladimir Putin has publicly implied that Moscow, as part of a deal to free Gershkovich, would like to see the release of a man Germany has accused of working for the Russian state when he killed a Chechen rebel commander in Berlin.

Since deploying troops into Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has seen a rise in the number of arrests on charges of espionage and the collection of sensitive data, with Washington accusing Moscow of detaining US citizens to secure the release of Russians imprisoned abroad for serious crimes.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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