Russia: NUJ joins IFJ in calling for release of Evan Gershkovich

  • 04 Apr 2023

Journalist is the first from a US outlet to face espionage charges in Russia since the cold war.

The National Union of Journalists is urging Russian authorities to release Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, following his detention over spying charges.

The Russian Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union, European Federation of Journalists and the United States’ NewsGuild-CWA have all called for the release of the journalist facing up to 20 years in prison for “collecting classified information.”

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Gershkovich on 30 March during a reporting trip to the Urals city of Ekaterinburg. Following his court appearance on the same day, he was ordered to pre-trial detention until 29 May.

Dominique Pradalié, IFJ president, said :

"The shameful arrest of  Evan Gershkovich is another blatant attempt to shut independent voices in Russia. Putin must stop holding the press hostage. We demand Evan's immediate release."

“The Russian authorities have clearly resumed the practice of high-profile arrests of foreigners in Russia,” said EFJ President Maja Sever. “This is in fact a hostage-taking and intimidating message directed at all journalists operating in Russia. We strongly condemn the despotic practices of the Kremlin and demand the release of Evan Gershkovich and the 39 other journalists imprisoned in Russia and occupied Ukraine”.

“This is not the first time that baseless accusations have been used in Russia to prosecute a journalist,” reacted Andrei Jvirblis, secretary of the independent Russian journalists’ union JMWU. “In December, our colleague Ivan Safronov was sentenced to 22 years in prison for allegedly sharing classified information that was in fact available in the public domain. These bogus trials and unfounded prosecutions have only one purpose: to intimidate journalists.”

The Wall Street Journal has denied FSB allegations and rallied support for Gershkovich. Lawyers for the journalist have filed an appeal against his detention.

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