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U.S. journalist jailed by Russia meets lawyers for first time, in good health – editor

2023-04-04T20:47:44Z

A view shows the pre-trial detention centre Lefortovo, where Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, arrested on suspicion of espionage, is reportedly being held in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested and charged with espionage in Russia last week, met his lawyers for the first time on Tuesday, editor-in-chief Emma Tucker said in a message to staff.

“Evan’s health is good, and he is grateful for the outpouring of support from around the world,” Tucker said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

“Evan’s family … are relieved to know we finally have contact with Evan,” she said, adding she was encouraged by the meeting. Last Thursday a Moscow court remanded Gershkovich in pre-trial detention until May 29 on charges that carry a prison term of up to 20 years.

He has appealed the detention through his lawyers, as Washington said it was pushing hard to secure his release.

Russia’s FSB domestic security service later said it had detained a married Russian couple on suspicion of spying on a military plant in the Siberian city of Nizhny Tagil, which is home to a tank factory. Tass cited the FSB as saying the couple had passed on technical information to Ukraine.

A Russian political expert last week told Reuters that Gershkovich had planned to travel to Nizhny Tagil, which is around 1,400 km (870 miles) east of Moscow.

A state-appointed official said on Monday he had visited Gershkovich at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, the main pre-trial jail for high-profile suspects and those charged with espionage or treason.

“We continue to call for his immediate release. The legal avenue is one of several avenues we are working to advocate for Evan’s release,” said Tucker.

The Wall Street Journal denies the charges. The Kremlin said last week, without providing evidence, that Gershkovich had been “caught red-handed”.

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