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WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich ordered to stand trial in Russia on charge of ‘gathering secret information’

Russian authorities announced Thursday that Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held for nearly 15 months in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison on dubious espionage charges, will go on trial.

The indictment against Gershkovich has been finalized, according to Russia’s Prosecutor General, who accuses the journalist of “collecting secret information” about facilities for the production and repair of military equipment for the CIA. This is the first time that details of the allegations against Gershkovich have been made public.

The 32-year-old has been detained in Russia since March 29, 2023 on previously vague espionage charges that the US government and The Wall Street Journal say are unjustified. The US has declared he is being wrongfully detained and has repeatedly called for his immediate release.

Colleague of detained WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich talks about his passion for journalism and Russia

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands inside a glass cage inside a courtroom at Moscow City Court, Thursday, December 14, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

of Associated Press It noted that Russian authorities “have not presented any evidence to support the accusations against Mr. Gershkovich.”

Gershkovich is due to stand trial in Yekaterinburg, where he was arrested last year while on a reporting trip. It is unclear when his trial will begin, but if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison. US Ambassador Lynn Tracy has called the charges against him “fictitious.”

The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gershkovich, the American-born son of Soviet immigrants, had been given authorization by the Russian Foreign Ministry to be in Russia at the time of his arrest.

The Wall Street Journal has organized numerous events to keep Gershkovich in the public consciousness through a variety of efforts, including runs, social media storms, book marathons and a recent barbecue. Friends, family and admirers have been able to exchange letters with Gershkovich, despite being censored by Russian authorities.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich turns 32 after being wrongfully detained in Russia

Evan Gershkovich

The Associated Press noted that Russian authorities have “not presented any evidence to support the accusations” against Evan Gershkovich. (The Wall Street Journal)

Gershkovich is the first American journalist to be arrested on espionage charges since the Cold War, highlighting the nadir of U.S.-Russia relations. Over the past year, Gershkovich has appeared on the cover of Time magazine and was mentioned in President Biden’s State of the Union address.

Biden has personally called repeatedly for Gershkovich’s release to no avail, and the journalist continues to appeal to end his pretrial detention. Former President Trump said earlier this year that Gershkovich would be released if he was re-elected.

Experts and people familiar with the case told Fox News Digital that the best hope for freeing Gershkovich and another American being held in Russia, Paul Whelan, is a high-profile prisoner swap.

For more information about Gershkovich, WSJ.com/Evan and Fliegelszkowicz.

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The Associated Press and David Rutz of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.