Moscow – Today, the Russian court extended the detention of a Russian-American journalist living in Prague, where Alsu Kurmaševová works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Svoboda, until April 5. It was reported by Russian and foreign media.
“The court acted behind closed doors. Journalists were only allowed to announce the court’s decision,” Kommersant wrote on its website.
Kurmasheva, who authorities accused of failing to register as a foreign agent while visiting Russia, is one of two American reporters jailed in Russia last year, AFP reported. She reminded that Evan Gershkovich from The Wall Street Journal, who was accused by the Russian authorities of espionage, is also in custody.
Kurmaševová, who has both Russian and American citizenship, lives with her husband and children in Prague, according to Radio Free Europe. She traveled to Russia last May for family reasons. In June, she was detained at Kazan airport before her return flight and authorities confiscated both her US and Russian passports. The journalist then waited in Russia for the return of her travel documents. In October, authorities charged her with violating the Foreign Agents Act, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, and remanded her in custody.
Both Kurmaševová and her employer deny the blame. The BBC previously wrote that the violation of the obligation to report to the authorities as a foreign agent has been a criminal offense in Russia for almost three years, but until now there has not been a single criminal case in this regard.
In December, reports emerged that the authorities were also prosecuting the journalist for spreading “false” news about the Russian military, as Moscow refers to information that does not match the official interpretation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Specifically, Kurmashev is being prosecuted for a book condemning the conflict in Ukraine, called “No war. Forty stories of Russians who opposed the invasion of Ukraine”, which was published the year before and Kurmashev participated in it. According to RFE/RL, the publication tells the stories of the inhabitants of the Russian Volga from March to August of last year. In this case, the journalist may face up to ten years behind bars.
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