What We Know About The Americans Who Are Being Held In Russia

(NewsSpace.com) – Russia has been taking Americans hostage for the past few years, holding them on typically bogus charges. The US believes that they are attempting to use them to negotiate the release of their own citizens, like in the deal that saw Brittney Griner return to the US for the release of arms dealer Viktor Bout. With a journalist now on trial in Russia for espionage, all eyes are once again on the country and the Americans they’re holding.

Evan Gershkovich is a Wall Street Journal journalist who has been detained in Russia since March 2023. Before that, he had been accredited in the country for six years. Now, he’s on trial for espionage, a claim that the publication and the United States both deem baseless. Washington has accused Russia of “wrongfully detain[ing]” Gershkovich, a term that is used to describe people held with political motivation. The journalist is facing up to 20 years in prison for the alleged crimes, despite Russia not having publicly offered up any evidence of said espionage.

Russia is still holding on to other Americans, too. Former US Marine Paul Whelan has been in custody since December 2018. Like Gershkovich, he went on trial for espionage. Whelan, who the US government also considered “wrongfully detained,” was found guilty in June 2020 and received a sentence of 16 years. He contends he was just in the country for a friend’s wedding.

Gordon Black, a US Staff Sergeant who was previously stationed in South Korea, went to Russia reportedly to visit someone he was romantically involved in. He broke army regulations by traveling to the country without authorization. There, he was arrested for allegedly stealing 10,000 rubles from her. He was arrested on May 2 and found guilty just over a month later, on June 19. He received nearly four years, which he is currently serving at a penal colony.

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