Media Lawyers Call on UN to Help Secure Gershkovich’s Release
At the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday, the legal team for jailed American journalist Evan Gershkovich called on member states to prioritize his case.
Speaking to the U.N.’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, the lawyers and advocacy group Article 19 said that Gershkovich’s “wrongful detention violates his human rights under international law.”
The statement comes one day before a hearing scheduled in Moscow on Tuesday on Gershkovich’s appeal against the extension of his pretrial detention.
The Wall Street Journal reporter’s original pretrial detention was scheduled to expire on May 29 but has since been extended until November 30.
Ahead of that hearing, the U.S. ambassador to Russia visited Gershkovich in jail last Friday, marking the latest in what have been infrequent consular visits since he was detained on espionage charges in March.
The recent consular visit by Ambassador Lynne Tracy is only the fourth such visit granted since Gershkovich’s arrest nearly six months ago.
In a Friday post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the U.S. Embassy in Russia said, “He remains strong and is keeping up with the news —including his parents’ appearance at the UN this week.”
On September 13, Gershkovich’s mother, father and sister joined U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a press conference, where she called on Moscow to immediately release the journalist.
Thomas-Greenfield urged the international community and U.N. member states to “stand with us, to stand on the side of justice, and to condemn Russia’s flagrant violations of international law.”
During the press conference, Gershkovich’s family members urged global leaders to prioritize Gershkovich’s plight during the U.N. General Assembly, which is taking place this week in New York.
The Russian Embassy in Washington did not respond to VOA’s request for comment.
During the comments at U.N. headquarters on Monday, Article 19 and lawyers representing the Journal urged states to “bring Evan home and condemn Russia for attacking and jailing journalists for doing their jobs.”
The statement was delivered during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at the 54th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.
“Evan’s wrongful detention violates his human rights under international law, is an affront to the free press, and is designed to stop journalists from exercising their right of free expression,” the statement said. “Each day that Russia continues to wrongfully detain Evan is another day that Russia keeps him from writing the insightful, enlightening and independent journalism that has been the hallmark of his career.”