Evan Gershkovich. Screenshot: wsj.com
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) is accusing The Wall Street Journal correspondent, Evan Gershkovich, of espionage. He is currently being held in Lefortovo prison in Moscow. Independent journalists from Russia and other countries believe that this is a politically motivated case and demand Gershkovich’s immediate release. Together with TV Rain, Meduza, and Echo of Moscow, Mediazona is publishing this open letter.
If you are a journalist and wish to sign this letter, please contact our Telegram bot at @mediazzzona_bot or send an email to [email protected]. Please provide your full name, affiliation, and a method for verifying your information.
On March 30, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced the arrest of our colleague Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen and a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Russian security forces claim he was engaged in espionage, and the Kremlin insists that he was “caught red-handed.” We, independent Russian journalists and representatives of civil society, do not believe these accusations and consider them unfounded.
The FSB alleges that Gershkovich, acting on instructions from the U.S., collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of Russia’s defense enterprises. But the agency has provided no evidence to support this claim; it expects us to take its investigators at their word. This was also the case during the prosecution of another colleague of ours, Ivan Safronov. Thanks to a series of journalistic investigations, the details of Safronov’s alleged “treason” became known to the public, and we consider it proven that Ivan was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his journalistic work. The similarities between this new “espionage” case and the case against Safronov give us reason to seriously doubt the accusations against Evan Gershkovich.
We consider the case against Gershkovich preposterous and unjust. Evan Gershkovich’s reputation as a reporter is stellar, and his work has always met the highest journalistic standards.
The FSB’s reputation, on the contrary, has been destroyed over the years by its own agents. There is no reason for society to trust these “professionals.”
We, independent Russian journalists and representatives of civil society, support our foreign colleagues who take upon themselves the great risks of working in Russia. We demand that our colleague Evan Gershkovich be set free immediately.
You can read the list of signers (updated, in Russian) here.
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