Russia opens new criminal case against U.S. Radio Free Europe journalist

Russian-American journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Alsu Kurmasheva

© APA | Russian-American journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Alsu Kurmasheva

# 12 December 2023 17:16 (UTC +04:00)

Russian investigators have opened a new criminal case against a Russian-American journalist being held in detention, accusing her of spreading false information about the Russian army, a state-affiliated media outlet reported on Tuesday, APA reports citing Reuters.

Alsu Kurmasheva, a journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), has been in custody since Oct. 18. She was earlier briefly detained in June while trying to fly out of Russia after visiting her mother.

Kurmasheva, the second U.S. journalist to be held in Russia since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022, is being held in pre-trial detention - so far scheduled to end on Feb. 5 - in her native Russian region of Tatarstan.

A court first found her guilty of failing to declare that she had a U.S. passport, mandatory under Russian law, and fined her. She was then accused of failing to register as a "foreign agent", an offence that carries up to five years in jail and one she has pleaded not guilty to.

According to Tatar-Inform, a state-affiliated media outlet which has suggested that she is also formally accused of deliberately gathering military information that could be used against Russia, state investigators opened a new criminal case against Kurmasheva on Dec. 11.

It said the new case centred on a book which the Prague-based journalist had edited which pulled together the stories of Russians who oppose the Ukraine war.

Her editing and promotion of the book was seen by state investigators as amounting to what Russia regards as deliberately distributing false information about the Russian army out of political hatred, Tatar-Inform reported.

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