The 31-year-old American was arrested on March 29 on suspicion of espionage and will now be held in custody until at least August 30. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to 20 years.
In response to the extended detention, the White House again called for the journalist’s “immediate release.” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said: “He should never be in custody. Journalism is not a crime. We are working very hard to get him home to his family.”
Appeal against detention
In April this year, Gershkovich appealed against his pre-trial detention. The Russian court rejected this request.
Russia says it caught the American journalist in the act. Wagner was working on an article about the group’s mercenary recruitment when he was captured.
The US has always maintained that Gershkovich was wrongfully arrested. President Joe Biden previously called his detention “absolutely illegal.”
Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be arrested for espionage in Russia since 1986.
Change with the Russians
Russia used to influence Americans against the US government. It is suspected that the journalist was arrested for later exchange with one or more Russians detained in the United States. The same thing happened to American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia late last year:
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