“Evan’s situation – as any traumatic event – it hits in waves. Sometimes you don’t feel it, sometimes you feel it real acutely, and that weekend at Bowdoin was one of those times where we felt it extremely.”

That’s Sam Silverman, friend of journalist Evan Gershkovich, who graduated from Bowdoin College in 2014, telling a Times Record reporter about a recent reunion.

“He should have been there that weekend,” Silverman said.

On Wednesday, 32-year-old Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter imprisoned in Russia since March of last year, made his latest court appearance. This was not for yet another pretrial hearing but to mark the start of his supposed espionage trial – a trial that will be held behind closed doors. Gershkovich is accused of gathering information for the CIA. Gershkovich is a reporter, not a spy. What has happened since his arrest – for doing his job – is the stuff of nightmares.

The pain and disappointment endured by Gershkovich’s family and his community, at Bowdoin and well beyond, is radiating. Silverman and others are rightly working to ensure that the reporter’s political imprisonment stays at the top of people’s minds: hosting events, writing letters, raising funds and rallying people together at freegershkovich.com.

So far, nothing about the process in Russia is clear but its cruelty.

In a statement last week, the publisher and editor in chief of the Journal called the proceedings “shameful and illegitimate.”

“It’s jarring to see him in yet another courtroom for a sham trial held in secret and based on fabricated accusations,” the statement reads. “The time to bring Evan home is now.”

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