It has been four weeks since Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, a graduate of Princeton High School and the Waldorf School of Princeton, was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said at the United Nations that Russia is open to discussing prisoner swaps, but that the Kremlin will not divulge the details of any negotiations. Talks about an exchange deal will not take place until after Gershkovich’s trial, which probably won’t begin for months.
Gershkovich was detained while he was on a reporting trip in the city of Yekaterinburg, and is being held on allegations of espionage. The Wall Street Journal and the U.S. government say the allegations are false. Gershkovich is the first American journalist detained in Russia on espionage charges since the Cold War.
In Russia, espionage trials are typically conducted in secret, with little to no evidence shared about a defendant’s case. Conviction carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. It is rare for a court to acquit a defendant.
Press freedom advocates, governments, news organizations, and human rights groups have all called for Gershkovich’s immediate release.
Gershkovich, whose parents now live in Philadelphia, was able to communicate with his family via an April 5 letter.
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