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Deal to swap Russian spy for wrongly-jailed WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich blocked

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PLANS to swap a Russian spy for wrongly-jailed journalist Evan Gershkovich have been blocked.

A judge has refused a US request to extradite alleged spook Sergey Cherkasov, 37, who was jailed in Brazil last year.

Evan Gershkovich, 31, was snatched by secret police and thrown in a Moscow jail in March on trumped-up spying charges

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Evan Gershkovich, 31, was snatched by secret police and thrown in a Moscow jail in March on trumped-up spying chargesCredit: Getty

The White House hoped to trade him for the innocent Wall Street Journal reporter.

Evan, 31, was snatched by secret police and thrown in a Moscow jail in March on trumped-up spying charges.

US President Joe Biden said he was “serious” about a prisoner swap after the White House accused the Kremlin of sick “hostage diplomacy”.

Cherkasov was unmasked as part of the GRU intelligence service last year after posing as a Brazilian citizen, Viktor Muller Ferreira, 33, for more than a decade. He was held in the Netherlands in June last year after jetting in on false papers to take up an internship at the International Criminal Court.

Biden says he’s ‘serious’ about prisoner swap for WSJ reporter held in Russia
US discuss prisoner swap for journalist Evan Gershkovich arrested in Russia

Dutch intelligence claimed Cherkasov had tried to infiltrate the war crimes court, which later indicted President Vladimir Putin for abducting Ukrainian children.

Cherkasov was sent back to Brazil where he was convicted of document fraud and jailed for 15 years, reduced to five on appeal.

The US and Russia had both filed papers to extradite Cherkasov. Moscow claimed that he was wanted on drug-trafficking charges.

The US charged him with spying and fraud.

Evan was detained in Yekaterinburg on March 29, days after a US court unveiled the charges against Cherkasov.

He faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted. His trial is due to start next month.

Brazil’s Justice Ministry did not give reasons for refusing the US request. It suspended the Russian request.


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