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Family of Detained RFE/RL Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva Meets Top Biden Aides, Lawmakers, Hostage Advocates in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – Pavel Butorin meets with Senator Chris Van Hollen, March 14, 2024.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The husband and children of American RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva—who is spending her 150th day in a Russian prison—spent a productive week in Washington, D.C. that included meetings with the National Security Council, the U.S. State Department, members of Congress, and civil society groups. 

Pavel Butorin, Alsu’s husband, said he was grateful for the support the family received:

“My girls and I came to Washington unsure what to expect but are leaving with confidence that the U.S. government and free speech advocates care about Alsu and will fight for her release. 

We hope the State Department will soon designate Alsu as ‘wrongfully detained’ so she can have full access to the resources of the U.S. government to secure her release. She’s done nothing wrong and is only being held because she’s an American.”

In Congress, the family received bipartisan support and met Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and staff of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s (HFAC) Subcommittee on Europe. 

Pavel and his daughters also took part in a commemoration for Hostage & Wrongful Detainee Day hosted on Capitol Hill by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and the McCain Institute. They also met advocates from other civil society groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Hostage Aid Worldwide

Pavel, an American journalist with RFE/RL, was granted honorary membership in the National Press Club by its president, CNBC reporter Emily Wilkins. 

He also met with U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Amanda Bennett, who has been a stalwart champion for Alsu since she was first detained by Russian authorities.

Alsu’s family appeared on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, in which they talked about how much they miss her and want her back home.

The Russian government has not allowed Alsu to speak to her husband or daughters for over four months, and despite repeated requests by the U.S. government, Alsu has been denied consular access, her right as a U.S. citizen.  


About RFE/RL 

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.