Home World News Working To Secure Release Of Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich: Biden

Working To Secure Release Of Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich: Biden

Gershkovich, Biden, Russia
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court, in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

NEW YORK: As Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich completed one year in Russian detention, President Joe Biden said the US is working every day to secure his release. “Journalism is not a crime, and Evan went to Russia to do his job as a reporter—risking his safety to shine the light of truth on Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement on Friday.

Evan Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip to the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg. The Federal Security Service, or FSB, alleges he was acting on US orders to collect state secrets but provided no evidence to support the accusation, which he, the Journal and the US government deny. Washington designated him as wrongfully detained.

On Friday, there was a giant blank space on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, with an image at the top of the page of Evan Gershkovich in the newspaper’s signature pencil drawing and a headline that read: “His Story Should be Here”.

A recent court hearing offered little new information about Gershkovich’s case. He was ordered to remain behind bars pending trial at least until June 30, the fifth extension of his detention.

But the periodic court hearings at least give Gershkovich’s family and friends and US officials a glimpse of him. And for the 32-year-old journalist, it’s a break from his otherwise largely monotonous prison routine.

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Biden said in the statement that he would never give up hope. “We will continue working every day to secure his release,” the Democratic president said. “We will continue to denounce and impose costs for Russia’s appalling attempts to use Americans as bargaining chips. And we will continue to stand strong against all those who seek to attack the press or target journalists — the pillars of free society.”

Biden said that the US was working to free all Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.

Another American accused of espionage is Paul Whelan, a corporate executive from Michigan. He was arrested in 2018 in Russia and sentenced two years later to 16 years in prison. Whelan, who said he travelled to Moscow to attend a friend’s wedding, has maintained his innocence and said the charges against him were fabricated.

With inputs from AP