LifestyleFacing 15 years in prison. Russian-American journalist accused of spreading disinformation about Russia's military

Facing 15 years in prison. Russian-American journalist accused of spreading disinformation about Russia's military

Ałsu Kurmashewa, a journalist detained in Russia, has heard new charges.
Ałsu Kurmashewa, a journalist detained in Russia, has heard new charges.
Images source: © Youtube | Reuters

5:37 AM EST, December 13, 2023, updated: 6:52 AM EST, December 13, 2023

Kurmasheva is a working journalist living in Prague, along with her husband and two adolescent daughters. She traveled to Russia on May 20 for personal reasons. To date, she has been unable to return home.

The journalist was detained in June at the airport, and both of her passports were confiscated. It was then revealed that she had failed to notify the Russian authorities of her dual citizenship. She was also fined while waiting in Russia for her passports to be returned.

She risks a prison sentence of up to 15 years

On Tuesday, December 12, Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested under suspicion of participating in the dissemination of a book released in November 2022. The book comprises narratives from inhabitants of Russia's Volga region who are against the Ukraine invasion.

The publication is a compilation of testimonies and interviews conducted between March and August 2022 and posted on the Tatar-Bashkir segment of Radio Liberty's website. Kurmasheva could be jailed for 15 years for facilitating the book's distribution.

She has been unable to depart from Russia for six months

The allegations regarding her part in the book's circulation compose the third case commenced against the journalist. Previously, while awaiting the return of her documents, Kurmasheva was detained on grounds of being a "foreign agent".

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Kurmasheva was charged with neglecting to register with an institution that oversees public activities, receives funds from overseas, and is purportedly under foreign influence. US media suggests that this is Russia's first instance where a journalist has been criminally prosecuted for violating foreign agent registry laws.

According to the Russian Prosecution Office, Kurmasheva knowingly collected information about military operations that could potentially jeopardize Russia's security. For this alleged infraction, she could face a range of penalties from fines to community service, or even a five-year prison term.

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