Ambassador says reporter is ‘in good well being and stays robust’ as dozens of nations voice concern over his arrest.
Washington, DC – The US ambassador to Russia has visited detained Wall Road Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich in a Moscow jail, marking the primary consular entry granted to the imprisoned US journalist amid requires his launch.
Ambassador Lynne Tracy confirmed on Monday that Gershkovich is “in good well being and stays robust”. Her go to comes every week after Washington formally designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained”.
“I visited WSJ’s Evan #Gershkovich as we speak at Lefortovo Jail — the primary time we’ve been permitted entry to him since his wrongful detention greater than two weeks in the past,” Tracy mentioned in a tweet on Monday.
Russia arrested Gershkovich and accused him of spying late final month, however American officers dismissed the accusations as “ridiculous” early on.
Gershkovich has appealed his detention, and a Russian court docket is ready to listen to his case on Tuesday, US media retailers reported.
US officers had been calling on Russia to grant consular entry to Gershkovich since his arrest, accusing Moscow of violating worldwide legislation by not permitting American diplomats to contact him.
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) April 17, 2023
In a while Monday, greater than 45 international locations signed onto a press release expressing concern about Gershkovich’s arrest and calling on Russia to launch prisoners held on “political grounds”.
The international locations — largely Western nations allied with Washington — additionally urged Moscow to finish what they referred to as “the draconian crackdown on freedom of expression, together with towards members of the media”.
“We protest Russian efforts to restrict and intimidate the media,” the assertion mentioned. “Free, impartial, and pluralistic media play an indispensable position in informing individuals world wide.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, welcomed information of Monday’s consular entry to Gershkovich. She had beforehand led efforts to garner assist for the journalist.
“We’re completely delighted that now we have had the chance to see him, however we nonetheless name for his unconditional launch,” Thomas-Greenfield mentioned. “He’s being held unfairly and unjustly, and the Russians want to permit him to return to his household.”
Press freedom teams and the Wall Road Journal have additionally denounced Gershkovich’s detention, which unfolded as tensions between Washington and Moscow continued to mount amid Russia’s struggle in Ukraine.
Advocates say Gershkovich’s arrest is a part of Russia’s broader crackdown on media retailers because it pushes ahead with the invasion of its neighbour.
However Russian authorities declare that Gershkovich was “caught red-handed and violated the legal guidelines of the Russian Federation”. They haven’t offered proof to again the costs.
Final week, US President Joe Biden described Gershkovich’s detention as “completely unlawful” and held a telephone name along with his household.
The reporter is now considered one of two US residents who Washington says are “wrongfully detained” by Moscow. Paul Whelan, a US Marine veteran, was beforehand sentenced to 16 years in 2020 on espionage expenses that Washington has mentioned are false.
Late final 12 months, Russia launched US basketball participant Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap that didn’t embody Whelan. Griner was detained on drug expenses days earlier than Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.