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Russia to Hold Closed-Door Espionage Trial for Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich

Payam Javan: Russia’s trial of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter accused of espionage for the CIA, will be conducted behind closed doors, the Sverdlovsk Regional Court announced on Monday. Gershkovich, 32, was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29, 2023, in Yekaterinburg. He faces charges of collecting secrets about the defense enterprise Uralvagonzavod, which could result in up to 20 years in prison. Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal have denied the charges, asserting he was merely performing his reporting duties.

This marks the first instance of an American journalist being detained on spy charges in Russia since the Cold War. The initial hearing is set for June 26. Despite President Vladimir Putin’s indication of potential negotiations for a swap, efforts by the Journal and Dow Jones to secure Gershkovich’s release have been unsuccessful. The incident underscores the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

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