Russian Court Extends Pre-Trial Detention of US-Russian Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva

A Russian court has extended the pre-trial detention of journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until June 5, as reported by her employer Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). Kurmasheva, a dual U.S.-Russian national, was arrested last year in Kazan, Russia, on charges of failing to register as a “foreign agent” and spreading “false information” under censorship laws enacted after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

Kurmasheva, who worked as an editor for RFE/RL, could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Her employer has condemned her imprisonment as unjust and politically motivated.

“The charges against Alsu are baseless. It’s not a legal process, it’s a political ploy, and Alsu and her family are unjustifiably paying a terrible price,” RFE/RL head Stephen Capus said.

In court on Monday, Kurmasheva smiled but expressed concern about the poor conditions in her cell. She has been detained since October 2023 while awaiting trial.

Rights groups have criticized Russia for using oppressive legislation to target regime critics and independent journalists. Kurmasheva is the second American journalist to be arrested in Russia since the start of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Her case has drawn international attention, with the U.S. State Department condemning her arrest and advocating for her release. The charges against Kurmasheva have been widely viewed as politically motivated, and her supporters continue to lobby for her designation as a “wrongfully detained” individual by the U.S. government.

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