Biden Praises ‘Absolute Courage’ of U.S. Journalist Detained in Russia

Published: April 30, 2023

President Biden has known as for the discharge of Evan Gershkovich, an American Wall Street Journal reporter imprisoned in Russia, praising his braveness and saying the United States was working tirelessly to convey him house.

Mr. Gershkovich was detained in Russia final month and accused of espionage, a cost that his employer and the United States emphatically reject. The State Department this month designated the journalist as “wrongfully detained,” signifying that the U.S. authorities sees him because the equal of a political hostage.

In a speech on the annual White House Association Correspondents’ dinner on Saturday, Mr. Biden spoke of Mr. Gershkovich’s “absolute courage” and mentioned everybody on the occasion stood with the reporter.

“We’re working every day to secure his release, looking at opportunities and tools to bring him home. We keep the faith,” Mr. Biden mentioned advised the viewers. “Our message is this: Journalism is not a crime.”

Mr. Gershkovich’s case represents essentially the most important assault on worldwide journalists in Russia for the reason that Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February final yr. It can also be the primary time {that a} Western journalist in Russia has been charged with espionage for the reason that finish of the Cold War.

In his speech on Saturday, Mr. Biden asserted the significance of a free press worldwide and likewise spoke of Austin Tice, a contract journalist who disappeared in Syria in August 2012, quickly after the nation’s civil struggle started. It is believed that, since then, he has been held captive by the federal government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Evan and Austin should be released immediately along with every other American held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Mr. Biden mentioned. Debra and Marc Tice, the dad and mom of Mr. Tice, wrote an opinion article, printed in The Washington Post final August, wherein they urged Mr. Biden to step up diplomatic efforts to free him.

Mr. Biden additionally known as for the discharge of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine serving a 16-year jail sentence in Russia on what the United States says are fabricated prices of espionage, and addressed Brittney Griner, a W.N.B.A. star who was freed in a prisoner swap in December after being detained for almost 10 months in Russia. He mentioned that he was wanting ahead to seeing Ms. Griner, who was in attendance on the dinner, play basketball professionally once more.

U.S. officers are involved that the arrest and prices towards Mr. Gershkovich, 31, sign an much more extreme Kremlin crackdown on impartial news retailers and the free circulation of data inside Russia. This month, in one other escalation, a Moscow courtroom sentenced Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Kremlin critic and Washington Post contributor, to 25 years in jail, an unusually harsh sentence that’s longer than what is usually given for homicide.

Mr. Gershkovich appeared in courtroom in Moscow on April 18, the primary time he had been seen in public since being detained. At the listening to, a decide denied Mr. Gershkovich’s enchantment to elevate his pretrial detention. Mr. Gershkovich was ordered again to Moscow’s Lefortovo jail.

After the ruling, one among Mr. Gershkovich’s attorneys, Maria Korchagina, advised reporters that he was able to “assert his right for free journalism” and “to defend himself.”

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