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RFE/RL Condemns Extension of American Journalist’s Detention in Russia

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is outraged by today’s decision in Kazan, Russia to extend the detention of imprisoned American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until April 5.

An image of Alsu Kurmasheva standing in front of the Grand Canyon

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is outraged by today’s decision in Kazan, Russia to extend the detention of imprisoned American journalist Alsu Kurmasheva until April 5. Alsu has been behind bars and separated from her family since October 18, 2023 during a trip to Russia to visit her ailing, elderly mother.

RFE/RL President Stephen Capus says:

“Russian authorities are conducting a deplorable criminal campaign against the wrongfully detained Alsu Kurmasheva. Imprisoned and treated unjustly simply because she is an American journalist, Alsu’s prison sentence has been extended again.

The world’s journalistic, human rights organizations, and diplomatic communities are standing with Alsu today. RFE/RL thanks the EU governments who sent representatives to today’s proceedings. Yet, Russia continues its systematic prosecution.

Alsu should be officially declared “wrongfully detained” by the United States Department of State, just as the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich was immediately designated after his unjust arrest.

Russia bears the ultimate responsibility for Alsu’s fate. Alsu should be released immediately and allowed to return to her loving family.

It is beyond time to #FreeAlsu.”

Last week, on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Alsu’s husband, Pavel Butorin, said, “100 days in detention in Russia is 100 days too many. For 100 days now, Alsu has been denied phone calls with her family, with her children. And for 100 days, as an American citizen, she has been denied visits from the U.S. embassy in Moscow.”

On January 25, dozens of Alsu’s RFE/RL colleagues released a video saying “Free Alsu” in 38 languages, including the 27 languages in which RFE/RL broadcasts to its local audiences.

Alsu began her career with RFE/RL in 1998 and is a journalist with RFE/RL’s Tatar-Bashkir Service. She holds U.S. and Russian citizenship and lives in Prague with her husband and two daughters.


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.