A Russian court has extended Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich’s detention for three more months.
The 32-year-old is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison on espionage charges.
Investigators reportedly requested that he remain in prison until August 30 after investigative detention had initially been set to last until May 29.
His lawyer Tatyana Noshkina said in April that the US reporter denied the allegations after a detention appeal was rejected by the court.
The United States had demanded Gershkovich’s “immediate release.” Gershkovich was arrested by the Russian secret service FSB in the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals at the end of March. According to the FSB, he allegedly collected secret information about the military-industrial complex for US agencies.
The Wall Street Journal has denied the accusations, emphasizing that Gershkovich was pursuing his journalistic work with his accreditation from the Russian Foreign Ministry. If convicted, Gershkovich, who has Russian roots, faces up to 20 years in prison.
The case continues to strain the already tense relations between the United States and Russia, with Moscow insisting that the US journalist is guilty.
Gershkovich was “caught red-handed” while spying on behalf of the US government, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asserted.
The White House has rejected the allegations, which it called “unsubstantiated.”
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller urged Moscow to allow a consular visit. “We will continue to press them to fulfill those obligations, as they are supposed to do under consular conventions,” Miller said in Washington.