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Ivan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, before a court hearing on Thursday. He was arrested in Russia in March.debt…Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

A Moscow court on Thursday rejected an appeal by Wall Street Journal reporter Ivan Kershkovich, who was jailed 12 weeks ago on espionage charges and told to end his pre-trial detention in Russia.

Mr. American journalist who has been in Russia for almost six years. Gershkovich was arrested in late March and charged with espionage, which he denies. Last month, his custody was extended till August 30. Although Russian prosecutors presented no evidence, he has been held for 12 weeks in Moscow’s high-security Lefortovo prison, which is run by successors to the KGB and is known for harsh conditions. Extreme loneliness.

The court rejected the plea of ​​his lawyers. US Ambassador to Russia Lynne M. Tracy and Mr. Also in attendance were Gershkovich’s parents, Ella Millman and Mikhail Gershkovich.

The US government and The Journal have vehemently denied the allegations. Mr. The White House said Gershkovich was “wrongfully detained,” tantamount to being a political prisoner. The designation changes Washington’s approach to detaining an American abroad, which generally believes the detainee was held arbitrarily or did not face fair charges or due judicial process.

The Journal reported on Thursday that Mr. issued a statement expressing continued support for Gershkovich.

“While the outcome was expected, it is an outrage that his detention continues,” it said. “Ivan has been wrongfully detained for more than 12 weeks for nothing more than doing his job as a journalist. We continue to press for his immediate release,” he said.

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Russia said on Thursday that it had received and was considering a US request for diplomatic access to the correspondent, the Interfax news agency reported. “There is no decision yet, but it is under consideration,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. The agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. Although Russia offered such a visit in April, it has rejected other requests for them.

President Vladimir V. Press freedom has declined sharply in Russia under Putin, as he has adopted authoritarian measures targeting journalists, dissent and dissent. Mr. Putin has focused on local journalists, especially since the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, allowing international reporters to work with a sense of freedom.

But on March 29, Mr. When Gershkovich was arrested while on a reporting trip in the central Russian city of Yekaterinburg, he became the first Western journalist to be accused of espionage since the Cold War. If convicted, he could spend 20 years in a Russian penal colony.

In 2020, Mr. On June 13, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Russian government to release Gershkovich and Paul Whelan.

2021 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Russian Journalist Dmitry A. Mr. Muratov said during a media conference in Bonn, Germany on Tuesday. He praised Gershkovich’s work.

“I know him well—practically everyone in Moscow knows him well,” said Mr. Muratov addressed the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. “He loves the country he works for. He is an incredible journalist, he is not a spy by any means.

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