American journalist detained in Russia for failing to register as foreign agent

American journalist detained in Russia for failing to register as foreign agent

Christopher Cann
 USA TODAYplayShow CaptionHide Caption#videoDetailsToggle{color:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));cursor:pointer;display:inline-block;font-family:var(–sans-serif,sans-serif);font-size:var(–type-7);font-weight:var( –font-weight-bold,900);line-height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);margin-bottom:-8px}#vdt_hide{margin-bottom:10px}.vdt-flex[hidden]{display:none}.vdt-svg{fill:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);width:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px)}Dual U.S. Citizen Detained in RussiaAnother journalist was detained and charged in Russia with authorities there saying she failed to register as a foreign agent. Alsu Kurmasheva is a dual American and Russian citizen.Cheddar

Russian authorities have detained a Russian-American journalist on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent, her employer said in a statement.

Alsu Kurmasheva, an editor with Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a media organization funded by the U.S. government, has been held in a temporary detention facility since she was taken into custody Wednesday in the western Russian city of Kazan, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. She is the second U.S. journalist detained in Russia this year.

Kurmasheva, who holds citizenship in Russia and the United States, traveled to Russia in May for a family emergency. While awaiting her return flight June 2, she was temporarily detained and her dual U.S.-Russian passports were confiscated, RFE/RL said. She has not been able to leave the country since.

Initially fined for failing to register her U.S. passport with Russian authorities, Kurmasheva was awaiting the return of her passports when the new charge was announced Wednesday.

She is now being accused of “failing to register herself as a foreign agent in her capacity as a person collecting information on Russian military activities that ‘could be used against the security of the Russian Federation,'” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. She faces up to five years in prison if found guilty, the nonprofit said, citing the Russian Criminal Code.

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Kurmasheva lives in Prague with her husband and two children.

A program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists called the charges against Kurmasheva “spurious” and demanded her immediate release. “Journalism is not a crime, and Kurmasheva’s detention is yet more proof that Russia is determined to stifle independent reporting,” said Gulnoza Said, the nonprofit’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.

“Alsu is a highly respected colleague, devoted wife, and dedicated mother to two children,” Jeffrey Gedmin, acting president of RFE/RL, said in a statement. “She needs to be released so she can return to her family immediately.”

In March, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia and charged with spying, which he and The Journal deny. He has appeared in court multiple times and remains imprisoned in Moscow.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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