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Biden reups vow to bring Evan Gershkovich home from Russia, one year after arrest

President Biden reupped his vow to bring detained American journalist Evan Gershkovich home from Russia Friday, one year after the Wall Street Journal reporter was arrested.

“Journalism is not a crime, and Evan went to Russia to do his job as a reporter–risking his safety to shine the light of truth on Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden said he has told Gershkovich’s parents that he will “never give up hope” and will “continue working every day” to secure the reporter’s release.

“We will continue to denounce and impose costs for Russia’s appalling attempts to use Americans as bargaining chips. And will continue to stand strong against all those who seek to attack the press or target journalists–the pillars of free society,” the statement said.

Biden addressed Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, a former marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018, as well as all Americans held hostage abroad.

“We are with you,” Biden vowed, “And we will never stop working to bring you home.”

In a rare joint statement, congressional leaders also slammed the Russian government for detaining Gershkovich.

“We continue to condemn his baseless arrest, fabricated charges, and unjust imprisonment,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

The anniversary comes just days after a Moscow court extended Gershkovich’s pretrial detention until June 30.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal left a hole on the front page of its print edition to spotlight the first anniversary of Gershkovich’s detention. The front page of the paper is largely dominated by white space and a headline that reads: “HIS STORY SHOULD BE HERE.”

Gershkovich was detained during a reporting trip for the outlet in Yekaterinburg. He was charged with a suspicion of espionage and was detained by Russia’s Federal Security Service. The paper included a letter penned by his family.

Source: The Hill

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