Russian court extends detention of US-Russian journalist

Russian court extends detention of US-Russian journalist

MOSCOW (AFP): A Russian court on Monday ordered Russian-American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva to be detained until December 5, after prosecutors said she had failed to register as a “foreign agent”.

She is the second US journalist to be arrested in Russia this year, following Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained in March on espionage charges that he and his employer vehemently deny.

Kurmasheva, who works for the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) media outlet, was detained by Russian law enforcement officers in the central city of Kazan last Wednesday.

The Sovietsky district court in Kazan — the main city of the Tatarstan republic — ruled she should be kept in detention as a “preventative measure”.

She faces up to five years in jail if found guilty of the charges.

Following Monday’s hearing, RFE/RL called for Kurmasheva to be released immediately.

“We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of today’s hearing,” said RFE/RL acting President Jeffrey Gedmin.

“We call for Alsu’s immediate release so she can be reunited with her family,” Gedmin said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the United States was “deeply concerned about her pretrial detention”.

“We have requested consular access. So far it has not been granted. We will continue to press for it,” Miller said.