Feb 1, 2024 - World

Russian court extends detention of American journalist until April

Alsu Kurmasheva

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Alsu Kurmasheva at a court hearing in Russia in October 2023. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

A Russian court on Thursday extended Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty journalist Alsu Kurmasheva's pre-trial detention by another two months.

Why it matters: Kurmasheva, who has dual U.S.-Russian citizenship, was the second American journalist detained by Russia last year. Moscow has intensified its crackdown on independent media and critics since launching its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

State of play: Kurmasheva was arrested in October and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.

  • That same month Russia extended her detention until December, rejecting a bid by her lawyers for a pretrial measure that did not include imprisonment. Her detention was extended again in December until Feb. 5.
  • Kurmasheva will now remain in custody without having been convicted of a crime until April 5, her employer announced Thursday.
  • The court rejected her lawyer's request to transfer Kurmasheva to house arrest.

What they're saying: "Russian authorities are conducting a deplorable criminal campaign against the wrongfully detained Alsu Kurmasheva," Stephen Capus, RFE/RL's acting president, said in a statement.

The big picture: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been detained in Russia since last March.

  • Gershkovich — whose detention was also recently extended — was formally declared "wrongfully detained" by the U.S. State Department last year.
  • Capus said Thursday that Kurmasheva should also be classified as wrongfully detained.
  • The State Department did not immediately respond on Thursday to Axios' request for comment on her detention.
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