The Wall Street Journal forcefully defended its reporter after he was arrested in Russia on allegations of espionage.
The Russian government’s Federal Security Service said it had detained U.S. citizen and WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovitch in the city of Yekaterinburg and accused him of spying on behalf of the U.S. government.
Gershkovich is “suspected of spying in the interests of the US government,” the FSB said in a statement reported by state news agency RIA Novosti. The FSB added his “illegal activities” “have been suppressed.”
The Russian government agency claimed it arrested the journalist while he was “trying to obtain secret information,” “on the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”
The FSB Investigation Department opened a criminal case under the article for espionage, RIA Novosti reported.
The paper defended their reporter and denied Russia’s allegations in a statement.
“The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family,” The WSJ’s Senior Communications Manager Caitlyn Reuss wrote.
The Journal said Gershkovich reported on Russia as part of the paper’s Moscow bureau. He is accredited to work as a journalist in Russia by the country’s foreign ministry, the FSB said as well.
Gershkovich was previously a reporter for Agence France-Presse and the Moscow Times and a news assistant at the New York Times, his WSJ bio says.
Reporters face up to 15 years in prison if they report what authorities deem as false reports about the military, according to a new Russian law. The legislation was passed by both chambers of the Russian parliament.
Some outlets like BBC News have suspended reporting from within the country due to the law, citing safety concerns.
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