Home Foreign News Russia charges journalist Alsu Kurmasheva with being unregistered foreign agent | World...

Russia charges journalist Alsu Kurmasheva with being unregistered foreign agent | World News

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A Russian-American journalist has been detained in Russia and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.

Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, had her passports confiscated when she was stopped at Kazan airport in June.

She was fined for failing to register her US passport and was unable to leave Russia.

Her employer said the foreign agent charge was brought against her on Wednesday as she awaited the return of her documents.

Video from the Tatar-Inform agency showed men in balaclavas taking Ms Kurmasheva into an administrative building.

She is accused of gathering information about military activities, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Tatar-Inform suggested she had received information about university teachers mobilised into the Russian army.

It’s understood she is being held in a temporary detention centre and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Ms Kurmasheva is the second US journalist to be detained in Russia this year, after The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich was arrested for alleged spying in March.

“Alsu is a highly respected colleague, devoted wife, and dedicated mother to two children,” said Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty acting president Jeffrey Gedmin.

“She needs to be released so she can return to her family immediately.”

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands behind a glass wall of an enclosure for defendants before a court hearing to consider an appeal against his pre-trial detention on espionage charges in Moscow, Russia, September 19, 2023. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is also being held by Russia

Ms Kurmasheva lives in Prague and is an editor with RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir service, reporting on ethnic minority communities in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in Russia.

“Journalism is not a crime, and Kurmasheva’s detention is yet more proof that Russia is determined to stifle independent reporting,” Gulnoza Said from the Committee to Protect Journalists warned.

Analysts believe Russia is detaining US citizens to use as bargaining chips amid tensions over the Ukraine war.

Basketball star Brittney Griner was held for many months before being swapped for a Russian arms dealer jailed in the US.

Evan Gershkovich, meanwhile, has appeared in court a number of times.

He and the WSJ deny the spying allegations and the US government has said he’s being wrongfully detained.

Detailed evidence has yet to be provided by Russian authorities.

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