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Evan Gershkovich: US journalist arrested in Russia appears in court

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US journalist Evan Gershkovich has appeared in court in Moscow to appeal against his detention.

He was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg while working for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper and charged with spying.

Mr Gershkovich stood with folded arms in a glass enclosure, wearing a blue checked shirt.

He did not say anything to the group of reporters who were there taking pictures of him.

US ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy was present in the court room.

Mr Gershkovich, 31, was arrested on 29 March. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of spying.

Russia claims he was trying to obtain classified defence information for the US government.

His arrest is the first time Moscow has accused a US journalist of espionage since the Soviet era.

Reporters Without Borders said Mr Gershkovich was covering the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

US officials said his driver had dropped him off at a restaurant and two hours later, his phone had been turned off.

Lawyers for the WSJ have been able to see him and the company has said it has been doing “everything in our power to support Evan and his family”.

Since the US designated him as “wrongfully detained”, more resources have gone to securing his release.

US leaders – President Biden and both Republican and Democratic senators – have condemned his detention.

BBC Russia Editor Steve Rosenberg describes him as an excellent reporter and a highly principled journalist.

At least 65 Americans were being unfairly detained abroad in 2022, according to a report by the James Foley Legacy Foundation.

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