RFE/RL Journalist Hits 6 Months Of Wrongful Detainment in Russia

RFE/RL Journalist Hits 6 Months Of Wrongful Detainment in Russia

Yesterday marked six months since RFE/RL journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was detained by Russia on baseless charges without consular access — her right as an American — and has been deprived of contact with her two daughters and husband.

Kurmasheva, who traveled to Tatarstan last May because of a family emergency, has been imprisoned in Kazan since October 18. Her passport was confiscated upon her return flight on June 2, and she was detained in October with charges of failing to ask the Russian government to register her as a "foreign agent." Two months later, she was charged with spreading falsehoods about the Russian military.

"We are deeply concerned about Alsu Kurmasheva’s detention, and we are looking closely at her case," State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told yesterday's briefing when responding to TURAN's questions.  "We continue to press directly for consular access to Alsu" he went on to add.

Press Freedom advocacy groups and news media outlets have consistently called on the State Department to designate Kurmasheva as wrongfully detained, which would open up additional U.S. government resources dedicated to freeing her.

When pressed by TURAN whether Kurmashva's mistreatment in jail should be good enough for the U.S. government to expedite the designation process, Patel said the following: "First of all, in any detention circumstance around the world, in any country when it happens, whether it is wrongful or not, we are quite clear that those who are detained need to be treated with respect, dignity, and consistent with appropriate humanitarian law.  That being said, on the issue of Alsu, we are continuing to look at her case and we’re continuing to press for consular access to her.  But I’m not going to get into the deliberative process of how these cases are determined.  Obviously, to say just broadly, journalism is most certainly not a crime, and certainly no one should be imprisoned for just doing their job."

 

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