The parents of US reporter Evan Gershkovich said Wednesday they want world leaders due to gather at the United Nations next week to join in pressing for his release from prison in Russia.
Gershkovich was detained in March during a reporting trip to the Urals and accused of spying -- charges that he, the US government and his employer, the Wall Street Journal, vehemently deny. In August his pre-trial detention was extended by three months.
"We just want him home," his father Mikhail Gershkovich told reporters at the UN, which will host its annual General Assembly in a matter of days.
"Next week, world leaders will gather here to discuss many important issues. We urge all world leaders to stand with Evan and what he represents -- the basic right to free press and freedom of expression," said Mikhail Gershkovich, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter.
He added: "These rights are bedrock principles of the United Nations."
The Wall Street Journal's parent company on Tuesday requested that a panel of UN experts declare Gershkovich as being "arbitrarily detained."
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, demanded the release of the reporter and of Paul Whelan, another American held in Russia on charges of spying.
"Mark my words: the United States will not rest until Evan and Paul, and all wrongfully detained Americans, are home, safe and sound," she said.
"And we urge the international community, and the United Nations, to stand with us. To stand on the side of justice. And to condemn Russia's flagrant violations of international law," the ambassador said.