US journalist Evan Gershkovich’s appeal rejected by Russian court, leaving him imprisoned on charges of espionage.

U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich will remain jailed in Moscow after a Russian judge on Tuesday upheld his detention on spying charges.

The Moscow City Court judge rejected the Wall Street Journal reporter’s appeal of his detention, ruling Gershkovich must stay in jail pending an investigation and trial.

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The charges carry a 20-year maximum penalty. Gershkovich is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison. 

Gershkovich is the first U.S. correspondent to be detained in Russia on espionage allegations since the Cold War, according to the Associated Press.

“Evan is a member of the free press who right up until he was arrested was engaged in news-gathering,” the newspaper said. “Any suggestions otherwise are false.”

Gershkovich, 31, on Tuesday was seen in public for the first time since his March 29 arrest, in the glass defendant’s cage when reporters were allowed into the courtroom.

The charges come amid the Kremlin crackdown on dissent and press freedom following its invasion of Ukraine.

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