A Russian court on Tuesday, April 18, refused to grant bail to Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. journalist who was arrested on espionage charges and could face up to 20 years in prison.

 

The judge announced that Gershkovich's detention would be maintained, to which he responded in Russian, "All understood. Thank you very much."

 

This decision comes as Gershkovich awaits further legal proceedings, and the case outcome continues to draw attention domestically and internationally.

 

On Tuesday, Evan Gershkovich, a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, made his first public court appearance during an appeal against his pre-trial detention. He appeared at the court hearing wearing a checkered shirt, crossing his arms, and smiling.

The court hearing was partially open to the press, with journalists and the US Ambassador to Moscow, Lynne Tracy, allowed into the courtroom before being ushered out. They will only be allowed back in to hear the court's decision at the end of the hearing.

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Since his arrest on March 29, Gershkovich has appeared in court only once before -- at a closed custody hearing on March 30.

Evan Gershkovich was arrested on allegations of spying for the US government. He is specifically accused of attempting to obtain classified defense information. The FSB has not disclosed precise details about his alleged espionage activities, but Gershkovich is currently held in custody while investigations continue.

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Before joining The Wall Street Journal, 31-year-old Gershkovich worked for AFP in Moscow.

Gershkovich speaks Russian. His parents live in the United States but are originally from the Soviet Union.

According to the Meduza outlet citing the attorneys of the detained journalist, Tatiana Nozhkina and Maria Korchagina, Evan Gershkovich is purportedly expected to be exchanged for a Russian imprisoned abroad. The exchange, according to the lawyers, may occur after the trial of the journalist and his sentencing.

Several US citizens are currently in detention in Russia with both Washington and Moscow accusing each other of making politically-motivated arrests.

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US President Joe Biden has called his imprisonment "totally illegal." More than three dozen news organizations have signed a letter to the Russian ambassador in the United States denouncing the "unfounded espionage charges" against Gershkovich.

Gershkovich is the first foreign journalist to be arrested on spying allegations in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The outcome of the appeal against his pre-trial detention will be closely watched as the case continues to unfold.

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