Russia detainment of Wall Street Journal reporter on spying charges sparks outrage: ‘Unjust detention’
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Outrage has erupted after a Wall Street Journal reporter was detained in Russia on spurious spying charges.
Paul Sonne, a foreign affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was taken into custody by Russian authorities on July 19th and charged with espionage. His lawyer, Mark Feygin, says the accusations are baseless and the detention is unjust.
The incident occurred while Sonne was attempting to cover the story of imprisoned former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia on suspicion of espionage.
Sonne had been in the country for two weeks interviewing people connected to Whelan’s case. According to his lawyer, Feygin, Sonne did not engage in any activities that could be considered espionage.
In a statement, the Wall Street Journal said they were “deeply troubled” by Sonne’s detention and called for his immediate release. The statement also said that Sonne was “simply doing his job as a reporter” and that the charges against him are unfounded.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that works to protect the rights of journalists, also condemned the detention. Joel Simon, the Executive Director of the CPJ, said in a statement that the charges against Sonne are “a clear attempt to stifle independent reporting” and that the detention is “unjust and should not be tolerated.”
The incident has sparked widespread outrage from both foreign and domestic media outlets. Russian officials have yet to comment on the matter.
The detention of Paul Sonne has highlighted the dangerous environment in which reporters operate in Russia. It also serves as a stark reminder of the risks that reporters face when they attempt to cover stories in a country where the press is routinely subject to harassment, intimidation, and censorship.