US journalist has Russian detention extended amid "foreign agent" charges

Kazan, Russia - A Russian court on Monday ordered Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva detained until December 5, after prosecutors said she had failed to register as a "foreign agent".

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Alsu Kurmasheva saw her detention extended to December 5, on charges of failing to register as a "foreign agent."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Alsu Kurmasheva saw her detention extended to December 5, on charges of failing to register as a "foreign agent."  © REUTERS

She is the second US journalist to be arrested in Russia this year, following Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich's arrest on espionage charges in March.

Kurmasheva, who works for the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was detained by Russian police in the central city of Kazan on Wednesday.

The Sovietsky district court in Kazan ruled she should be kept in detention as a "preventative measure".

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She faces up to five years in jail if found guilty of the charges.

Following Monday's hearing, RFE/RL called for Kurmasheva to be released immediately.

"We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of today's hearing," said RFE/RL acting President Jeffrey Gedmin. "We call for Alsu's immediate release so she can be reunited with her family."

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said last week that Kurmasheva's arrest "appears to be another case of the Russian government harassing US citizens".

The Kremlin on Friday denied it was "persecuting" US citizens.

Alsu Kurmasheva has passports confiscated

Kurmasheva, who holds dual Russian-American citizenship, had her passports confiscated earlier this year.
Kurmasheva, who holds dual Russian-American citizenship, had her passports confiscated earlier this year.  © REUTERS

Kurmasheva, editor of the US outlet's Tatar-Bashkir service, lives in Prague with her husband and two teenage daughters.

"Kurmasheva is an accomplished journalist who has long covered ethnic minority communities in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan," RFE/RL said after she was detained last week.

Last year, Kurmasheva edited a book titled Saying No to War – a collection of interviews and stories of Russians who oppose Moscow's assault on Ukraine.

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She returned to Russia in May for a family emergency and was temporarily detained at Kazan airport on June 2 before her return flight.

Her US and Russian passports were both confiscated and she was fined for failing to register her US passport with Russian authorities, according to RFE/RL.

The new charges were announced last week while she was still in Russia awaiting the return of her passports.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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