WALL Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has had his latest appeal blocked by a judge in Moscow after he was locked up on bogus spy charges.
The 31-year-old American appeared in a glass-walled dock after being brought from the tough jail where he has been held since March.
But today, the judge refused to hear the case and instead sent it to a lower court because of “procedural violations”.
Gershkovich bravely smiled from behind the defendant’s glass cage in a yellow jumper and kept his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
US ambassador Lynne Tracy was present at the hearing.
The US journalist was arrested in March 29 on trumped up charges of “espionage”, which Gershkovich, Washington and The WSJ vehemently deny.
No date has been officially set for his trial, however Putin’s spooks continue to extend his detention – which today reached 174 days.
He will now suffer behind bars in the notorious Lefortovo prison until at least November 30.
The WSJ’s Moscow correspondent’s pretrial detention was originally supposed to expire on May 29 – but appeals for his release have been repeatedly denied.
This expiration was pushed back to August 30, and was then extended into late November.
He has failed in two previous appeals, in April and June.
Under Moscow’s criminal law, the 31-year-old could face a pretrial extension of up to 12 months.
His arrest marked an increasingly ferocious crackdown on media freedom in Russia.
It is the first time Russia has brought a spy case against an overseas journalist since the end of the Cold War, and he faces a jail term of up to 20 years if convicted.
His employers called the arrest “a vicious affront to a free press” that “should spur outrage in all free people and governments throughout the world”.
“No reporter should ever be detained for simply doing their job,” The Journal added.
Washington has repeatedly stated that charges against Gershkovich are bogus and baseless and has demanded his immediate release.
They have deplored his “wrongful detention” as a method of “hostage diplomacy” designed to give Russia leverage at the bargaining table at a time when relations between the two countries have plunged to their lowest point in more than 60 years.
US officials said in July that there was still no clear “pathway” to getting him home, despite high-level talks.
Moscow has said no exchange could take place in Gershkovich’s case until a verdict has been reached.
Supporters of press freedom have also urged others to show their support for Evan by flooding social media with the message #IStandWithEvan.