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US demands immediate release of detained Wall Street Journal reporter

US President Joe Biden applauds, as an image of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in Russia in March and charged with espionage, is displayed, during the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington, US, April 29, 2023.—Reuters

The United States has strongly called for the immediate release of Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who is currently detained in Russia. 

This comes after Russia’s security service, the FSB, sought to extend Gershkovich’s detention. White House national security spokesman John Kirby expressed that Gershkovich should not be detained at all, emphasising that journalism is not a crime. He further stated that their priority is to work diligently towards getting Gershkovich home with his family where he rightfully belongs.

The FSB has reportedly applied to keep Gershkovich in custody for an additional three months on espionage charges. US officials are actively pressing for consular access to Gershkovich directly with the Russian authorities, as they believe there are no grounds for denying such access. Consular access is crucial to ensure that Gershkovich’s rights are protected and to provide the necessary support during this challenging time.

The United States remains committed to securing the release of Evan Gershkovich and continues to engage with Russian authorities on the matter. The detention of journalists is seen as a serious infringement on press freedom, and the US government is steadfast in its stance that journalism should not be treated as a criminal act. The immediate release of Gershkovich is considered a top priority, and efforts to resolve the situation are ongoing.

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