Russian court extends detention of journalist Alsu Kurmasheva

A Russian court on Friday again extended the pretrial detention of American-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva — this time by two months, until August 5.

A Prague-based journalist with VOA’s sister outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Kurmasheva has been jailed since October 2023 on charges of failing to self-register as a so-called “foreign agent” and spreading what Moscow views as false information about the Russian military.

Kurmasheva and her employer reject the charges, which carry a combined sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Press freedom groups have widely condemned the charges as bogus, and the U.S. government has called for her immediate release.

On Friday, the Sovetsky District Court of Kazan also rejected a request by Kurmasheva’s lawyers to have her detention switched to house arrest.

“The injustices multiply every day in this needless, cruel prosecution. Alsu’s fundamental rights as an American citizen are being denied by Russian authorities who have now imprisoned her for 227 days,” RFE/RL President and CEO Stephen Capus said in a statement after the decision.

“In that time, Alsu has not even had a single phone call with her loving children and husband; she’s been denied U.S. consular access as well as basic, adequate levels of health care. Alsu should be home in Prague with her daughters helping them study for final exams — not locked up in a Russian prison on baseless charges,” Capus said.

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