The US Embassy in the Russian Federation criticized the extension of Alsa Kurmasheva’s arrest

The US Embassy in the Russian Federation criticized the extension of Alsa Kurmasheva’s arrest

The US Embassy in Russia criticized the Russian court’s decision to extend the arrest of Radio Free Europe/Radio Svoboda journalist Alsa Kurmasheva until June 5.

“The Kremlin’s encroachment on media freedom in Russia is unacceptable,” said Lynn Tracy, the ambassador of the United States in Moscow.

The journalist has US and Russian citizenship. The message of the American diplomatic mission says that embassy staff were present at the court session in Kazan. The embassy also said that it will continue to seek consular access to the arrested woman.

Alsa Kurmasheva is charged under two articles of the Criminal Code of Russia: for failure to disclose information about herself for inclusion in the register of “foreign agents” and for spreading so-called fakes about the army – she is accused of distributing the book “No war. 40 Russian historians opposing the invasion of Ukraine”. which the editorial office of “Idel.Realii” presented in the fall of 2022.

Before her arrest, she lived in Prague. In the middle of May last year, she came to her native city of Kazan for family reasons.

Before the flight home, she was detained at the airport, a criminal case was opened against her under the article of failure to notify of second citizenship. The investigation of this case dragged on for several months. Only in October, the Kazan Magistrate’s Court found Kurmasheva guilty and fined her 10,000 rubles.

A week after the announcement of the verdict — on October 18 of last year — the journalist was detained again in the second case and this time sent to pre-trial detention center. A month and a half later — on December 11, 2023 — the investigation opened another criminal case about the distribution of so-called fakes about the army.

  • The detention of Alsa Kurmasheva was condemned by the government Canada, the Czech RepublicFrance, of Poland and Swedenas well as The Supreme Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, President of the European Parliament, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on issues of media freedom and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The platform of the Council of Europe to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists published a call to release the journalist.
  • International human rights and media freedom organizations also condemned the politically motivated detention of Kurmasheva and called for her immediate release. Among them: Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom HousePEN-America, Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists, etc International Press Institute. The Committee for the Protection of Journalists stated that “Alsu Kurmasheva’s arrest is today the most egregious example of abuse of the Russian legislation on foreign agents against the independent press.”
  • The US State Department is paying “huge attention” to Kurmasheva’s case. This was announced on January 18 by the official representative of the State Department, Matthew Miller. The foreign policy agency has not yet recognized the journalist as illegally detained – according to Miller, this does not mean that such efforts are not being implemented.

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