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Russia denying WSJ reporter consular access violating international law

WASHINGTON — Russia has not granted U.S. consular officials access to Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich since he was detained late last month and is in violation of international law, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Monday.

Patel told reporters at a regular press briefing that Moscow had over the weekend formally notified Washington of the detention, but the United States is still seeking consular access to Gershkovich, who has been detained since March 29 on espionage charges.

“At this point it is a violation of Russia’s obligations under our consular convention and a violation against international law,” Patel said.

The United States and the Soviet Union agreed in a treaty signed in 1964 that a consular officer shall be allowed to visit a detained or arrested citizen of the other state within two to four days of detention depending on their location.

“We have stressed the need for the Russian government to provide this access as soon as possible,” Patel added.

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers for the Wall Street Journal have visited the journalist, and the newspaper has called for his immediate release.

The United States has called for Russia to release Gershkovich and dismissed claims of espionage as ridiculous.

Source: voanews