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Siberian Court Fines American For Interviewing Local Residents

Alina Simone is planning to return to the United States soon.
Alina Simone is planning to return to the United States soon.

KISELYOVSK, Russia -- A court in the Siberian town of Kiselyovsk has fined an American woman after she interviewed local residents who had asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide them with asylum.

The Kiselyovsk Town Court on August 14 found Alina Simone guilty of "violating regulations on entering the Russian Federation and staying as a foreigner" in the country, and fined her 2,000 rubles ($30).

Simone arrived to Kiselyovsk in the Kemerovo region more than a week ago to see people who wanted to emigrate to Canada because of the poor ecological situation in the area caused by coal-mining operations.

Local authorities accused her of interviewing and filming local residents while she was in the country on a tourist visa. Simone has insisted that she was meeting with people as a private person and none of her materials were prepared at the request of any media outlet.

Simone's friend, a local journalist Natalya Zubkova, told RFE/RL that they had been informed about the place and time of the court hearing just two hours before it started.

Simone plans to return to the United States on August 19.