A Moscow court will consider an appeal by lawyers of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich to lift his pre-trial detention on April 18, the Interfax news agency reported, citing the court’s press service.
Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was arrested last week in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on espionage charges decried as bogus by the Wall Street Journal, Western leaders and the reporter’s colleagues.
Shortly after his arrest, a court in Moscow ordered Gershkovich be held in pre-trial detention at the capital’s Lefortovo prison until at least May. 29. At that hearing, Gershkovich was not allowed to meet his lawyer and prosecutors did not share any case materials.
The hearing on April 18 will also be held behind closed doors since Russia considers information related to the charges as classified, Interfax reported.
Gershkovich’s arrest triggered an outcry from Western leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, who urged Russia to “let him go”, and has further strained U.S.-Russia relations, already at their lowest level in decades.
The Wall Street Journal said it “vehemently denies” the charges, and dozens of media organisations have called on Russia to release Gershkovich immediately.