Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will remain behind bars after a Moscow court refused to hear an appeal of his pre-trial detention during a closed hearing Tuesday.
Gershkovich, 31,?will now stay in a Russian prison?until at least November 30 — unless his appeal is successfully heard in the meantime, which is an unlikely outcome.
The Moscow City Court sent his appeal back down to a lower court, saying in a statement that there were procedural violations that needed addressing.
Gershkovich was detained in March while reporting in the city Yekaterinburg, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow.
He was accused of spying on behalf of the US, with Russia’s Federal Security Service alleging the reporter “collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.”
Both Gershkovich and the Journal have denied the allegations, and the US government declared him wrongfully detained by Russia.
His accusers haven’t provided any evidence to support the charges.
Gershkovich is being held at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, notorious for its harsh conditions.
Before the hearing, the journalist was presented to reporters inside a glass defendant’s cage in the courtroom, where he smiled in jeans and a yellow sweater as he was photographed.
Gershkovich’s last court appearance was in August. During that hearing his detention was extended through the end of November.
He is the first American reporter to face espionage charges in Russia since September 1986, when Moscow correspondent for US News and World Report Nicholas Daniloff was arrested by the KGB.
US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited Gershkovich for the fourth time on Friday, two days after his parents appeared at UN headquarters and called on world leaders to?urge Russia to free him.
Gershkovich “remains strong and is keeping up with the news,” Tracy said.
“The plight of US citizens wrongfully detained in Russia remains a top priority for me, my team at the embassy, and the entire US government,” Tracy told reporters outside court.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said it would only consider a swap for Gershkovich after a verdict was reached in his trial.
Espionage trials in Russia can last for more than a year.
With Post wires