(Moscow) Journalist Evan Gershkovich, imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges, is “in good health”, US Ambassador Lynne Tracy announced on Monday after visiting him in his detention center for the first time.

“I visited Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal at Lefortovo prison. This is the first time we have been allowed to see him since his wrongful detention more than two weeks ago,” she said, quoted on her embassy’s Twitter account.

“He is in good health and remains strong,” she added, calling again for the release of the American journalist, on the eve of the appeal hearing on his pre-trial detention.

Evan Gershkovich, Moscow correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, who has also worked for AFP, was arrested by Russian security services on March 30 while reporting from Yekaterinburg in the Urals.

The person concerned, his newspaper, his relatives and the American government have categorically rejected the Russian espionage charges, punishable by 20 years in prison.

Russia’s arrest of a foreign journalist on such serious charges is the first since Soviet times.

Many observers believe that he could serve in Moscow as part of a possible future prisoner exchange with Washington.

A date for the start of Mr. Gershkovich’s trial has yet to be announced.