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Russia Extends Detention of U.S.-Russian Journalist Kurmasheva Until August

Alsu Kurmasheva. Alexander Nemenov / AFP

A Russian court on Friday extended the pre-trial detention of U.S.-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until August, nearly a year after she was first charged with spreading "false information" about the army.

Kurmasheva, who works for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was arrested last year for failing to register as a "foreign agent."

She was subsequently charged with spreading "false information" under wartime censorship laws that were introduced following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

A court spokeswoman said Friday that she could not confirm the charges pressed against Kurmasheva since the hearing was closed to the public.

The deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Daniel Kanigan, told AFP that Washington was "closely following the outcome" of the hearing.

"The United States condemns these ongoing persecutions, which are a tragedy for the entire people of Russia, who have a constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of the press," Kanigan said. "Journalism is not a crime."

Kurmasheva is "a dedicated journalist who is detained for her uncompromising commitment to reporting the truth to the Russian people, regardless of whether the truth makes the Kremlin uncomfortable," he added.

Kurmasheva, who lived in Prague with her husband and two children, had her U.S. and Russian passports confiscated last June after traveling to Russia for a family emergency.

She is the second U.S. journalist to be arrested in Russia since Moscow's full-scale invasion.

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