The appeal is written in two languages and is relatively brief, but the list of signatories is impressively long: 301 journalists, all of whom once worked as correspondents for foreign media Russia have reported contact with one Letter to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: “It doesn’t make Evan a criminal or a spy that he was looking for information, even if he got in the way of political interests. It makes him a journalist,” write the ex-correspondents, including four of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The signatories are “shocked and appalled” by the way the Russian state is treating Evan Gershkovich. The journalist of Wall Street Journal was arrested in Yekaterinburg on March 30. Last week he was taken into a glass case in a court in Moscow for a first interrogation on the allegations of espionage against him. The judge rejected a complaint by his legal counsel.
A campaign for Gershkovich is to be launched on social media
With the arrest of the 31-year-old, the Russian authorities wanted to send a warning signal to foreign journalists, according to one interpretation of the arrest. Other observers suspect that the Russian state sees Gershkovich as a kind of bargaining chip that it can use in future talks with the United States . The US agency Bloomberg reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally approved the arrest of the correspondent. Gershkovich may have conducted security-politically sensitive research in Yekaterinburg – his interlocutor, blogger Yaroslav Shishikov, who lives in the city, was also arrested.
The arrest and interrogation of Gershkovich, write the ex-correspondents from a total of 22 different countries, “a disturbing and dangerous signal” of how the Russian leadership disregards independent media, no matter how indifferent it is to the “fate of a young, talented and honest journalist”. may be. They are now calling on the Russian foreign minister to work to ensure that the authorities drop the charges. Evan Gershkovich should be released “immediately”. The appeal by the ex-correspondents was emailed to the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday and also posted by post. In the coming days, the signatories want to use the hashtag #IStandWithEvan to draw attention to Gershkovich’s fate on social media.