Russia formally accuses Wall Street Journal reporter of espionage

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Imprisoned American journalist Evan Gershkovich, del Wall Street Journal, was formally charged espionage in Russia and pleaded not guiltyThe state news agency Tass reported on Friday.

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A police source quoted by Tass said the Federal Security Service had formally charged the journalist with espionage. Tass did not say whether the charge was filed during a court hearing.

In the Russian judicial system, the presentation of the prosecution indicates the formal initiation of a criminal investigation.

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Evan Gershkovich pleaded not guilty.  Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

Evan Gershkovich pleaded not guilty. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP

The source told Tass that “the FSB investigation accused Gershkovich of espionage for the benefit of his country. He has categorically denied all allegations and stated that he was engaged in journalistic activities in Russia”.

The source declined to expand on his statements because it is believed that the case is secret.

Russian authorities arrested Gershkovich last week and accused him of trying to obtain secret information about an arms factory. The Wall Street Journal denied the allegation.

“In good health”

For the moment, since the process is secret, the details of the case are not known, even if the prisoner is he is in good health and spiritsas reported by Russian activists who visited him in pre-trial detention.

The only thing we know is that, once his arrest was reported, the FSB ensured that Gershkovich “gathered, on behalf of the United States, secret information on the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex”.

A vehicle leaves the detention center where the journalist is being held.  Photo: Reuters

A vehicle leaves the detention center where the journalist is being held. Photo: Reuters

“When trying to get secret information, the American was arrested in Yekaterinburg”, the capital of the Urals, the FSB said.

According to the digital newspaper Meduza, Gershkovich was in Yekaterinburg to gather information about the attitude of the Russians towards the Wagner mercenary group currently fighting in Ukraine.

Both the White House and the “Wall Street Journal” have denied the allegations made by the Russian security forces to their correspondent and have called for his immediate release.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin have appealed to Washington don’t politicize the case and let justice take its course.

“As far as we know they caught him red-handed”said Dmitri Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, who added that this detention “is a prerogative of the FSB, which fights spies in this way”.

For her part, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajárova, wrote on her Telegram channel that “what the Wall Street Journal employee was doing in Yekaterinburg It has nothing to do with journalism”.

“Unfortunately, it is not the first time that the ‘foreign journalist’ status, visa and journalistic accreditation have been used by foreigners in our country to cover non-journalism activities,” he said.

According to Zajárova, Gershkovich is “not the first known Westerner caught in the act.”

The passage of laws against the dissemination of false information, such as allegations of war crimes, and the discrediting of the Russian military in Ukraine, including criticism of volunteers and mercenaries, it greatly hampered the work of foreign journalists in this country since the beginning of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.

The last arrest of an American journalist for espionage took place in 1986, in the midst of Perestroika, and implicated Nicholas Daniloff, who three weeks later was exchanged for a Russian prisoner.

Recently Moscow and Washington have carried out several exchanges such as the one that took place in December between the Russian arms dealer Victor But and the basketball player Brittney Griner.



Source: Clarin

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