(HRNW) – A Nobel prize-winning Russian journalist said on Friday he did not believe that arrested American reporter Evan Gershkovich was a spy, and that he hoped diplomacy could bring about his quick release.
Dmitry Muratov told Reuters the case against Gershkovich – a Wall Street Journal reporter facing espionage charges that carry up to 20 years in jail – was part of a wider trend to make journalism a “dangerous profession” in Russia.
“I know Gershkovich. I’ve met him two or three times over the last year. I know the practice exists of using journalists as spies, intelligence officers and ‘illegals’ (undeclared spies) – this is not that kind of case,” Muratov said.
“He was no kind of so-called deep-cover operative – using being a journalist and his journalist’s accreditation as a cover for espionage … Gershkovich was not a spy,” said Muratov, a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his efforts to defend press freedom in Russia.