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Moscow Court Upholds Detention of U.S. Journalist Gershkovich Until March 30

A Moscow court on Tuesday said jailed U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich would remain in pre-trial detention until at least March 30, rejecting the latest appeal brought by his legal team.

Wall Street Journal reporter Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg last March and subsequently charged with espionage — accusations rejected by him, his employers and the White House.

"Gershkovich will remain in custody until March 30, 2024," the Moscow courts service said in a statement Tuesday following a hearing.

The appeal was a technical hearing against an earlier ruling to extend Gershkovich's pre-trial detention period and did not concern the substance of the case.

The U.S. has slammed the Kremlin over his arrest and ongoing detention.

"The charges against Evan are baseless. The Russian government has locked Evan up simply for reporting news," U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy, who attended the hearing, said Tuesday.

The decision means Gershkovich will spend at least a year in jail following his shock arrest on March 29, 2023 — the first time Russia had arrested a Western journalist on espionage charges since the fall of the Soviet Union.

President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month he would like to see Gershkovich released as part of a prisoner exchange between Russia and the United States and that talks between the two countries were ongoing.

In those remarks to conservative American TV commentator Tucker Carlson, the Russian leader suggested that he wanted to see a Russian who was jailed in Germany for killing a Chechen dissident freed as part of the deal.

Washington, which has designated Gershkovich as "wrongfully detained", has accused Moscow of arresting American citizens on baseless charges to use them as "bargaining chips" to secure the release of Russians convicted abroad.

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