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A Russian court has decided to extend the pre-trial detention of Alsu Kurmasheva, an American journalist working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, until June 5.

Kurmasheva, who was arrested in October 2023, faces allegations of failing to comply with foreign agent registration laws and disseminating misinformation about the Russian military. She vehemently denies these accusations, with potential penalties amounting to 15 years in prison.


RFE/RL President Stephen Capus condemned the extension, labeling the charges against Kurmasheva as “unfounded” and criticizing the legal proceedings as politically motivated. He added, “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. Russia must end this sham and immediately release Alsu without condition.”

During a recent court appearance, Kurmasheva reported poor health and minimal medical care, describing the prison conditions as dire, with a hole in the cell floor serving as a toilet. Her husband, Pavel Butorin, echoed these sentiments online, vowing to continue fighting for her release.

Kurmasheva is one of two American journalists currently imprisoned in Russia, alongside Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, detained under espionage charges deemed unfounded by many.

US Reacts:
The US embassy in Moscow reacted to the news, saying, “We are deeply concerned about Alsu Kurmasheva’s detention in Russia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Kremlin’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists and civil society voices. Healthy democracies do not undertake such steps. A free and independent press is a vital, core institution that undergirds democracies, ensuring that electorates can make informed decisions and hold governmental officials accountable. In this light, the charges against Ms. Kurmasheva are a sign of the weakness of Putin’s regime.”


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