Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested in the Russian city of Kazan, her employer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, announced on Wednesday. Alsu Kurmasheva was charged with failing to declare herself “a foreign agent,” for which she faces up to five years in prison, according to a press release from the private media outlet, which is funded by the US Congress.
RFE/RL explains that the journalist, who usually lives in Prague, had to travel to Russia on May 20 for a “family emergency” and was then temporarily detained before his return flight to Kazan on June 2. Her US and Russian passports were confiscated and she was unable to leave Russia until her indictment was finally announced on Wednesday.
In a statement, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday evening that the journalist was in a temporary detention center, according to the official Tatar-Inform news agency.
The CPJ is calling on Russia to “immediately release” the journalist and “drop all charges” against him. “Journalism is not a crime, and Kurmasheva’s detention is further evidence of Russia’s determination to stifle a free press,” the organization said in a statement.
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