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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
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Russian court keeps US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva in jail: Employer

The 47-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading false information about Russia's military, which U.S. President Joe Biden condemned as retribution for her reporting.

MOSCOW (AFP) — A Russian court on Tuesday refused to release from detention U.S.-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva, who faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading "false information" about the country's army.

Tuesday marks eight months since Kurmasheva, a joint U.S. and Russian citizen, was arrested in Russia on charges of breaching its "foreign agent" law.

She was subsequently charged with spreading "false information" about Russia's armed forces under strict military censorship laws introduced days after Moscow launched its military offensive against Ukraine. 

On Tuesday, the Tatarstan Supreme Court rejected Kurmasheva's appeal against an earlier decision to extend her pretrial detention until Aug. 5, her employer Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty told AFP.

The 47-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges, which have been condemned by U.S. President Joe Biden as retribution for her reporting.

Kurmasheva edited a 2022 book titled "Saying No to War," a collection of interviews and stories from Russians opposed to the military campaign that President Vladimir Putin ordered against Ukraine.

The journalist, who lived in Prague with her husband and two children, had her U.S. and Russian passports confiscated last summer after travelling to Russia for a family emergency.

She was initially fined for failing to declare dual citizenship but while she was awaiting the return of her passports she was arrested on the more serious charges.

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She is the second U.S. journalist to be arrested in Russia since it launched its offensive on Ukraine.

Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in March 2023.

He will go on trial on espionage charges, which carry a possible 20-year sentence, in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg on June 26, the court said on Monday.

Gershkovich also denies the charges leveled against him, which prompted accusations from the United States that Russia had effectively taken him political hostage.

No trial date has been set for Kurmasheva.

Kurmasheva's lawyers have called for her to be released and put under house arrest pending trial.

Radio Free Europe President Stephen Capus called the case against her "needless" and "cruel."

By Agence France-Presse

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