A Russian court has made the decision to keep a Russian-American journalist in custody until early December, after she was detained last week on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent. Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor for the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tatar-Bashkir service, appeared in court in the city of Kazan. The court rejected her lawyer’s request for alternative preventive measures, ordering her to remain in custody until December 5.
Kurmasheva is the second U.S. journalist to be detained in Russia this year, with the first being Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on espionage charges in March and is still in custody. Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to support the charges against Kurmasheva or Gershkovich.
The charges against Kurmasheva include failure to register as a “foreign agent” and allegedly collecting information on Russian military activities. If convicted, she could face a sentence of up to five years in prison. However, international organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists have denounced the charges as baseless and an attempt to suppress independent reporting.
Kurmasheva, who resides in Prague, was detained on June 2 at Kazan International Airport while traveling to Russia for a family emergency. Her U.S. and Russian passports were confiscated, and she was fined for not registering her U.S. passport. According to RFE/RL, she was waiting for her passports to be returned when the new charges were filed.
It is worth noting that in 2017, Russian authorities instructed RFE/RL to register as a foreign agent. However, the organization has challenged the use of foreign agent laws in the European Court of Human Rights and has faced significant fines as a result.
As the detained journalists await their respective court proceedings, concerns continue to mount over the stifling of independent journalism in Russia. The U.S. government has declared Gershkovich to be wrongfully detained, and international organizations emphasize the need to support press freedom and ensure the protection of journalists.
Q: What charges does Alsu Kurmasheva face?
A: Alsu Kurmasheva is facing charges of failing to register as a “foreign agent” and collecting information on Russian military activities.
Q: How long could she be sentenced to if convicted?
A: If convicted, she could face a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Q: Has any evidence been provided to support the charges against her?
A: No, Russian authorities have not provided any evidence to support the charges against Kurmasheva.
Q: What are international organizations saying about the charges?
A: International organizations, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, have denounced the charges as baseless and an attempt to stifle independent reporting.
Q: What is the status of Evan Gershkovich, the other U.S. journalist detained in Russia?
A: Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, is also still in custody after being arrested on espionage charges in March. The U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained.