“Next week, world leaders will gather here to discuss many important issues,” Mr. Gershkovich’s father, Mikhail, said in New York . He called on those leaders to stand with his son, who he said represented “the basic right to free press and freedom of expression” — rights that are “bedrock principles of the United Nations.”
Lawyers filed a petition on Tuesday asking a group of U.N. experts to side with the American government and agree that Evan Gershkovich was being arbitrarily detained by Russia in violation of his human rights, the family said.
The petition was submitted to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a panel of five human rights and international law experts. The group has previously evaluated the detentions of several journalists, including the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who spent 544 days imprisoned in Iran before he was released in a prisoner swap in early 2016.
The U.N. group does not have any enforcement authority, but its determination that Mr. Gershkovich is being arbitrarily detained would further raise pressure on Russia, already isolated from the West, to free him.
Ms. Tracy last met with Mr. Gershkovich in mid-August. American officials have said that their Russian counterparts are blocking them from getting regular consular access to Mr. Gershkovich, the first American journalist arrested on an espionage charge in Russia since the end of the Cold War. The United States government considers him wrongfully detained and, along with The Journal, has categorically denied the accusations against him.