A Russian court has decided to prolong the detention of Alsu Kurmasheva, a Russian-American journalist, until December 5th on the grounds of her alleged failure to register as a “foreign agent,” according to reports from Russian news agencies.
Kurmasheva, employed by the US-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was apprehended by Russian law enforcement in the central city of Kazan last Wednesday.
The decision to keep her in detention as a “preventative measure” was made by the Sovietsky district court in Kazan, the capital city of the Tatarstan Republic, as reported by the Interfax news agency.
If found guilty of the charges, Kurmasheva could face a maximum sentence of up to five years in jail.
This marks the second instance this year where a US journalist has been arrested in Russia. In March, Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained on espionage charges, which were vehemently denied by his legal team, the WSJ, and the White House.
The arrest of Kurmasheva was described by US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller last week as “another case of the Russian government harassing US citizens.”
However, the Kremlin refuted any claims of “persecution” of US citizens on Friday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated during a press briefing that there is no ongoing campaign in Russia to persecute US citizens, emphasizing that appropriate measures are taken against individuals who violate the law.
RFE/RL noted that Kurmasheva, who serves as the editor of the Tatar-Bashkir service within the US media outlet, resides in Prague with her spouse and two children.