Evan Gershkovich
Evan GershkovichREUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

A Russian court on Tuesday deferred a ruling on the pre-trial detention of Jewish American journalist Evan Gershkovich, AFP reported.

The Moscow City Court, where the hearing was held, later said it will send the case to another court in the Russian capital -- the Lefortovo Court.

The 31-year-old, who is the Wall Street Journal's Moscow correspondent, was detained in late March during a reporting trip to the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

He is charged with espionage and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He, his newspaper and the US government all strongly deny the accusation.

Gershkovich continued to report from Russia despite a large part of the Western press leaving the country after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine.

He became the first Western journalist to be arrested by Moscow on espionage charges since the Cold War, and his arrest marked a further crackdown on media freedom in Russia.

In late August, a judge ruled that his pre-trial custody would be extended to November 30. Gershkovich has appealed the decision.

This past Friday, US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy visited Gershkovich in prison.

"He remains strong and is keeping up with the news - including his parents' appearance at the UN this week," the embassy posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Tracy was present at the hearing and told reporters that Washington's position on the reporter's case "remains unwavering."

"The Russian government locked Evan up for doing his job," she said.

In June, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve a resolution demanding that Russia release Gershkovich.

The congressional resolution, which is not binding, calls for Gershkovich to be released from prison immediately, and also demands that he be given full access to US consular staff until he is released.