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Russia Extends Detention of Alsu Kurmasheva; Her Imprisonment “As Outrageous Today as It Was Six Months Ago”

Alsu Kurmasheva and her daughters.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) condemns the latest extension of American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva’s pretrial detention. With U.S. embassy officials present for the first time, a Russian court in Kazan today ordered her to remain in custody until June 5 and rejected a request by her lawyers to have Alsu’s imprisonment converted to house arrest. The RFE/RL journalist has been in prison for nearly six months, since October 2023.  

RFE/RL President & CEO Stephen Capus said: 

“Alsu’s imprisonment is as outrageous today as it was six months ago. She’s already missed too many birthdays and holidays with her husband and daughters simply because she holds an American passport and went to visit her sick mother.  

The charges against Alsu are baseless. It’s not a legal process, it’s a political ploy, and Alsu and her family are unjustifiably paying a terrible price. Russia must end this sham and immediately release Alsu without condition.” 

During today’s court appearance, Alsu told reporters she was “not very well physically,” and said her living conditions in prison “are very bad.” She also said she is receiving “minimal” medical care and that conditions in her cell are primitive, with a hole in the floor serving as a toilet. 

Alsu, 47, was arrested in Kazan last October and charged with failing to register as a “foreign agent” under a punitive Russian law that targets journalists, civil society activists, and others. She’s also been charged with spreading falsehoods about the Russian military and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges. 

Last month, Alsu’s husband and children spent a week in Washington, D.C. advocating for her release and held meetings with the National Security Council, the U.S. Department of State, members of Congress, and civil society groups. 


CBS Sunday Morning: Detained: The heartbreaking ordeal of journalist Alsu Kurmasheva 

Wall Street Journal: Fear Grows Among Families of Americans Held in Russia 


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.