Russia: authorities detained Radio Free Europe journalist Alsu Kurmasheva
A Russian court on 1st December extended the pre-trial detention of US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until 5 February.
On 18 October, Prague-based journalist Alsu Kurmasheva working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was detained by Kazan Authorities on charges of ‘failing to register herself as a foreign agent’. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) strongly condemn the detention of an innocent journalist and demand Russian authorities release her immediately.
The Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva, who lives in Prague, Czech Republic’s capital, arrived in Russia on 20 May for a family emergency. On her way back to Prague, she was temporarily held at Kazan airport on 2 June, and both her US and Russian passports were confiscated.
Russian authorities fined her for failing to register her American passport, an offence that leads up to 5 years in prison. On 20 October, Kurmasheva’s custody was extended by 72 hours and her pre-trial detention was also extended on October 23 until 5 December.
She is the second US journalist to be held by Russia this year together with Evan Gershkovich. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty pressroom has called for the journalist’s immediate release on Twitter.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “The arrest of Alsu Kurmasheva represents another stifling attempt to suppress independent journalists in Russia. We demand Kurmasheva’s immediate release.”
“The Russian law on foreign agents and undesirable organisations is a repressive tool that can be used to convict anyone, even if they have nothing to hide,” added EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “At present, 245 media outlets and journalists are targeted by these charges in Russia. This is clearly a way for the Russian regime to hold journalists hostage. We demand the withdrawal of these repressive laws.”