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Russian Court Extends American Journalist’s Pre-Trial Detention

Evan Gershkovich. Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP

A Moscow court has extended the pre-trial detention of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich by three months, the state-run Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

The Lefortovo District Court granted the Federal Security Service's (FSB) request to extend Gershkovich's pre-trial detention until Nov. 30 in a closed-door hearing, Interfax wrote.

Gershkovich, a United States citizen and former Moscow Times reporter, was arrested in Yekaterinburg in late March and charged with espionage, becoming the first foreign journalist arrested in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The United States, The Wall Street Journal and Gershkovich strongly condemn Russia's spying allegations.

Thursday's extension was the second granted by the Lefortovo District Court since the journalist was first arrested. He was initially ordered to two months of pre-trial detention.

A Moscow court on June 22 rejected an appeal to free Gershkovich. The U.S. Ambassador to Russia, who attended the hearing, called the decision "extremely disappointing."

Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in Russian prison if found guilty of espionage. 

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