Russian Court Extends Detention of Journalist

( – A court in Russia recently ruled that a detained Russian-American journalist, Alsu Kurmasheva, must remain in custody until at least August 5th, while she waits for her trial and the investigation against her to finish.

The information about Kuasheva’s whereabouts was provided by a Russian human rights group, OVD-info. Kurmasheva, an editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s service in Russia, was arrested on October 18th. She is currently facing charges for not registering as a foreign agent while gathering information about the Russian military and for spreading “false information” about the military.

She is a dual Russian/US citizen and lives in Prague with her husband and two daughters. If found guilty, she could be sentenced to up to 10 years in Russian prison.

Kurmasheva’s troubles began on June 2nd when she was stopped at an airport in Tatarstan, Russia, as she was leaving the country after a visit to her sick mother. Her Russian and US passports were taken by officials, and she was fined for not registering her US passport. She stayed in Russia, waiting for her documents to be returned. Kurmasheva was arrested in October on additional charges.

Ever since Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022, authorities in Russia have increased their efforts against independent journalists. New legislation effectively criminalizes any public commentary on the conflict that goes against the narrative from the Kremlin.

Kurmasheva is the second American journalist detained in Russia within the last year. Back in March, Evan Gershkovich was arrested on espionage charges, which he and his employer, the Wall Street Journal, denied. Gershkovich has been in Russian custody for over a year, despite US authorities classifying him as wrongfully detained.

The case of Alsu Kurmasheva is yet another instance showing how complicated it is for journalists to independently report from Russia, especially as the war in Ukraine rages on. The increasing restrictions on free speech also show how far the Kremlin is willing to go to silence any opposition.

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