KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) -A Russian-American journalist who stands accused of breaking Russia's law on foreign agents had her pre-trial detention extended on Monday until Dec. 5.
Alsu Kurmasheva is a Prague-based journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which is funded by the U.S. Congress and designated by Russia as a foreign agent, meaning it gets foreign funding for activity deemed to be political.
Kurmasheva's lawyer Edgar Matevosyan told Reuters he considered the Kazan court's decision "too harsh" and said he intended to appeal it.
Kurmasheva is the second U.S. journalist to be arrested and charged in Russia since the start of its war in Ukraine, which has plunged relations between Moscow and Washington to their lowest level in more than 60 years.
After Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in March on spying charges, which he denies, almost all other U.S. journalists left Russia. Washington has repeatedly urged other Americans to leave.
The U.S. State Department said last week that the proceedings against Kurmasheva appeared to be "another case of the Russian government harassing U.S. citizens". The Kremlin denied that and called the comment inappropriate.
Kurmasheva, who holds U.S. and Russian passports, entered Russia on May 20 to deal with a family emergency, RFE/RL said. As she awaited her return flight on June 2, she was detained and her passports were confiscated.
She was fined for failing to register her U.S. passport with Russian authorities, and charged last week with failure to register as a foreign agent, an offence that carries up to five years in prison.
The term "foreign agent", which has Cold War connotations of espionage, has been applied in Russia to organisations, journalists, rights activists and even entertainers, and brings with it close government scrutiny and a mountain of red tape.
RFE/RL has called for Kurmasheva's immediate release to allow her to be reunited with her husband and two children.
(Reporting by Filipp Lebedev, editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)