Alsu Kurmaševová is a Russian-American journalist who works for Radio Free Europe (REF/RL) and lives with her children and husband in Prague. The Russian court has now extended her detention until February 5 next year. The reason was allegedly that she did not register as a so-called foreign agent, as required by Russian law.
She traveled to Russia in May for family reasons. But in June, she was detained at Kazan airport before her return flight. The authorities seized her American and Russian passports. Since then, the journalist has been waiting for her passports to be returned, but instead she was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Act in October and found herself in custody.
At the time, the legal representative of the journalist called the court’s decision on detention too harsh. Kurmaševová denies the guilt.
The BBC points out that violating the obligation to report to the authorities as a foreign agent has been a criminal offense in Russia for almost three years. So far, however, not a single criminal proceeding has been conducted in this regard.
The Russian Ministry of Justice can add virtually anyone it deems to be under foreign influence to the list of foreign agents. These persons are then subject to stricter official control. In addition, Reuters reminded that RFE/RL itself has the designation of a foreign agent in Russia due to the fact that it is funded by the US Congress.