Calls for US reporter Evan Gershkovich be released from Russian jail one year on

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AUSTRALIANS from all corners of the country – and those living overseas – have joined the growing chorus of people coming out in support of jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.

Leaders from the world of politics, sport, business and journalism have penned letters to Mr Gershkovich, who on Friday marks one year in a Russian prison on bogus espionage charges.

Among those to send words of encouragement to Mr Gershkovich are Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins, and former Socceroo and humanitarian Craig Foster.

Mr Gershkovich’s plight has galvanised Australians across the country, who have sent in their own letters of support as part of the Dear Evan campaign.

“Dear Evan, freedom of speech, freedom of the press cannot be stifled. You stand for that freedom many people are thinking of you, take comfort in this and stay strong,” reader Jane Walton wrote.

“Dear Evan, The support for you is now global,” Clare from Sydney penned.

“Your incarceration is cruel and unjustified. Although you must feel alone and powerless, citizens from around the world have been alerted to your situation. Keep our support and love close to your heart”.

Rhonda and Graham from Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands wrote: “Your plight has reached a concerned Australia, you are in our thoughts, and we stand with you in solidarity.

“And hopefully the groundswell of support from all of us in Oz, plus USA, and elsewhere can have an effect on Mr Putin to reconsider your wrongful imprisonment, and have you released free of any conditions immediately”.

Reader Ali Perry from Mount Martha in Victoria wrote: “Dear Evan, Stay strong, and believe many people are fighting for you. Our thoughts and prayers”.

Australians living overseas have also shared their thoughts, with reader KK writing: “Dear Evan. From Papua New Guinea we hear of your plight and wish you a speedy road to your home family and freedom. KK”.

And ex-pat Tracey Johnson wrote: “Sending a message of strength and love from an Australian living in Vietnam. The world knows you should be released. It will happen. Hugs Tracey Johnson xx”.

Mr Gershkovich was detained while on assignment on March 29, 2023 in the city of Yekaterinburg, accused of being a spy, making him the first American accused of espionage since the Cold War.

Those accusations are fiercely denied by Mr Gershkovich, his family, his lawyer and his employer.

A Moscow Court this week extended his pre-trial detention until June 30, meaning he has spent more than a year behind bars.

“I know it means so much to Evan, his family and his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal to know people all over the world, including Australia, are thinking of him at this unfortunate milestone,” Mr Gershkovich’s colleague at the Wall Street Journal assistant editor Paul Beckett said:

“It is inspiration to redouble our efforts to get him home as soon as possible,” Mr Beckett, who is working on Mr Gershkovich’s release said.

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