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Russia has detained a Jewish journalist for 112 days. His friends are reading his work aloud in protest

A 24-hour marathon reading of Evan Gershkovich’s work aims to raise awareness of his ongoing detention

Colleagues and loved ones of Evan Gershkovich, a Jewish journalist detained in Russia since late March, have embarked on a 24-hour marathon reading of his works in an effort to raise awareness of his plight.

Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was detained by Russian authorities while covering the Wagner Group, an independent Russian military organization, and charged with espionage. 

The read-a-thon of Gershkovich’s writing, organized by the National Press Club, seeks to provide symbolic support for the 31-year-old journalist, who has spent 112 days in pre-trial detention in Russia. Appeals of his arrest, and requests for him to be released on bond, have so far been denied by Russian courts.

President Joe Biden said earlier this month that his administration is engaged in ongoing talks with the Kremlin about a potential prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich.

“It is relatively easy for Russia to make a false charge of espionage and to provide no evidence, but there is a mountain of journalism that is itself strong testimony to who Evan is and what he does,” said the National Press Club in a press release. “Evan is a journalist, and the work shows that.”

During the read-a-thon, Gershkovich’s family members, friends and fellow journalists have been allotted 15-minute slots to read his published work from The Wall Street Journal, AFP and The Moscow Times

Gershkovitz had been based in Russia for six years leading up to his arrest, and was accredited by the Foreign Ministry. Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, he had been reporting from Russia’s border regions, interviewing locals and Russian soldiers

“We’re making it real clear that it’s totally illegal what’s happening, and we declared it so,” Biden said in April, after the State Department formally declared Gershkovich to be “wrongfully detained.” The Biden administration has since issued sanctions targeting Russian intelligence agencies in response to Gershkovich’s arrest.

Gershkovich is the son of Jewish refugees who fled the Soviet Union in 1979 seeking refuge from antisemitism. 

In a letter written to his family in April, Gershkovitz wrote from jail that he is “not losing hope”.

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