OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
1:35 PM – Thursday, October 19, 2023
Alsu Kurmasheva, a Russian-American journalist, has been arrested in Kazan, Russia, for “failing to register as a foreign agent.” If convicted, the sentence carries a jail term of up to five years behind bars.
On Wednesday, Kurmasheva, who holds both Russian and United States citizenship, was detained while awaiting the return of her passports in Kazan, according to her employer, who made a statement on Thursday.
According to a local media site, authorities charged her with “failing to register as a foreign agent” and “collecting information on behalf of foreign governments.”
Kurmasheva, who is based in Prague, is a reporter at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which is a U.S. government-funded broadcasting network.
The company mentioned that Kurmasheva has been working with their Tatar-Bashkir Service.
RFE/RL stated that Kurmasheva’s charges indicate that she had failed to sign up as foreign agent, which is essential since it is an assignment that the country of Russia mandates for all agencies or individuals that it believes to be receiving foreign funding.
This charge has been utilized previously in order to target journalists and those who are vocal against the Kremlin.
The charge holds a jail term of up to five years, according to RFE/RL.
Additionally, RFE/RL stated that the Russian-American journalist traveled to Russia for a “family emergency” in May 2023, and was temporarily arrested while she was waiting for her flight back to the Kazan airport on June 2nd.
During Kurmasheva’s arrest, she had her U.S. and Russian passports taken away and has not had the ability to travel out of Russia since the occurrence happened, leaving her in a state of detention.
She was in the process of waiting for her passports to be given back to her when the new charge was declared on Wednesday. It has demanded for her immediate release.
Additionally, local media stated that Russian officials convicted Kurmasheva of “conducting a targeted collection of military information about Russian activities via the Internet in order to transmit information to foreign sources.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a media rights group that promotes press freedom and defends journalists privileges, made an announcement regarding the situation.
The organization claimed that Kurmasheva’s accusations are “spurious,” explaining that the charges should be dropped immediately and that she should be let go.
Kurmasheva is now the second journalist living in the U.S. that has been arrested and held in Russia in 2023.
In March, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was detained on espionage charges and has the potential to face up to a 20 year sentence if found guilty. Gershkovich has been unable to leave Russia since, as he has been ordered to remain in detention.
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