| |

Princeton High School soccer team to honor imprisoned journalist Evan Gershkovich at game Tuesday

Journalist Evan Gershkovich. Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

The Princeton High School boys’ soccer team will honor Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, an alumnus of the school who led the team to a state championship title when he was a student, at 4 p.m. just before the team’s home game on Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Players will be warming up in t-shirts displaying #IStandWithEvan, the hashtag used by The Wall Street Journal to call attention to Gershkovich’s unjust detainment. 

Speakers at the event will include Ken Brown, the financial enterprise editor at The Wall Street Journal, and Wayne Sutcliffe, the coach of the Princeton High School soccer team that won the Group III State Championship in 2009 for which Gershkovich was the team captain.

Gershkovich was wrongfully detained by Russia in March and remains in pretrial detention. He will remain behind bars after a Moscow court refused to hear an appeal against his pre-trial detention last week. The Moscow City Court said in a statement that it was sending the motion back to a lower court, effectively quashing it. The decision is the latest legal setback for Gershkovich, whose pre-trial detention has been extended twice since his arrest, once in May and again in August. An appeal against his first pre-trial detention was also denied.

With the court’s latest decision, Gershkovich will remain in the Lefortovo prison until at least Nov. 30.

Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip in Russia, where he was based as a journalist. Russian officials accused him of trying to obtain state secrets, claims both Gershkovich and the Wall Street Journal have denied. If Gershkovich is convicted, he faces up to 20 years in a Russian prison.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy told reporters the charges against Gershkovich are baseless. “The Russian government locked Evan up for simply doing his job,” she said. “Journalism is not a crime.”

 The Biden administration has been seeking Gershkovich’s release through various avenues, including a possible prisoner swap. In December,  U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was released in a prisoner swap with Russia in exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.