Falsely jailed WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich has prison term extended AGAIN by cruel Putin over trumped up spy charges | The Sun

WRONGLY jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich has had his detention extended once AGAIN after being locked up by Putin on bogus spy charges.

The 32-year-old innocent American will now remain in custody at a notorious Moscow jail until the end of January.

Gershkovich has already spent 244 days behind bars so far.

A Moscow court ruled today that his detention would be extended until January 30, Russian news reported.

The hearing took place on Tuesday behind closed doors because authorities say that details of the criminal case are "classified".

The Wall Street Journal reporter was detained by the Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 29 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on trumped up charges of espionage.

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Falsely jailed WSJ reporter has prison term extended AGAIN by cruel Putin

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Washington has repeatedly called the charges "ridiculous" and President Joe Biden branded Gershkovich's detention as "totally illegal".

The WSJ denies the charges and has called for his immediate release, as has his family.

He is the first Western reporter to be jailed on espionage charges in Russia since the Soviet era, and he faces a prison term of up to 20 years if convicted.

Russian officials have not yet provided any evidence to publicly back up their allegations.

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No date has been officially set for his trial, however Putin's cronies have continued to extend his detention for months on end.

On October 26, he spent his birthday behind bars as his sister called on the international community to demand his release.

"Every day that Evan is in prison is a day too long," Danielle Gershkovich said. "We want him home."

Earlier in October, he was denied his latest bid for freedom while he awaits trial at Moscow's most famously grim prison, Lefortovo.

The judge rejected his appeal and ordered his continued detention until at least November 30 – which has now had two months added to it.

The FSB alleges that Gershkovich, acting on the instructions of the American side, collected information constituting a state secret about the activities of one of the enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.

However, Russia's arrest of Evan has previously been branded internationally as a "cowardly act" as Putin desperately tries to escape accountability over his war in Ukraine.

Gershkovich's detention marked an increasingly ferocious crackdown on media freedom in Russia.

His employers called the arrest "a vicious affront to a free press" that "should spur outrage in all free people and governments throughout the world".

“No reporter should ever be detained for simply doing their job," The Wall Street Journal added.

Danielle Gershkovich said her family had been able to exchange letters with her brother.

"Those are a lifeline for all of us," she said. "I love to use them as a moment to keep his spirits up."

"When I'm reading his letters I hear his voice in my head. I get to feel like we're just talking together. I feel connected to him."

"I know that Evan will come out of this stronger and he'll want to get back to being a reporter," she added.

"He's incredibly passionate about being a journalist. It's really his life's passion."

Several US citizens have been handed heavy sentences in Russia in recent years.

Washington accuses Moscow of using them as bargaining chips to obtain the release of Russians held in the United States.

In December, Russia freed American basketball star Brittney Griner, who was arrested over traces of cannabis, in return for the release of Russian prisoner Viktor Bout.

Bout, nicknamed the "Merchant of Death", was imprisoned in the United States for weapons smuggling and now back in Russia is running for office as a far-right candidate.

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