September 19, 2023
We’re here today at the Moscow City Court, where the court has not yet rendered a decision on the third appeal on Evan Gershkovich’s conditions of detention. Evan is an American journalist whom Russian authorities have wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly six months. The US position remains unwavering. The charges against Evan are baseless. The Russian government locked Evan up for simply doing his job. Journalism is not a crime.
Although we could not speak with Evan in the courtroom today, I was able to visit him at the Lefortovo prison last week. Evan is fully aware of the gravity of his situation, yet he remains remarkably strong. True to his profession, Evan is always eager to discuss the latest headlines. He knew, for example, that his parents had delivered a petition to the United Nations last week, a petition that calls on the UN to make clear that he has been arbitrarily detained and to push for his immediate release. He also shared that he is keeping his mind sharp through games of chess by mail with his father.
The plight of US citizens wrongfully detained in Russia remains a top priority for me, my team at the embassy and for the entire US government. It is unacceptable that Evan Gershkovich and Paul Whelan still languish in Russian prisons on charges that are baseless. The United States will not rest until Evan and Paul are safely at home with their family and friends. Thank you.