MAKHACHKALA, Russia – An American freelance journalist participating in a university's fellowship program was questioned by anti-organized crime authorities in the restive southern province of Dagestan, officials said Friday.
Kelly McEvers, a 35-year-old New York City resident, is on a five-week reporting trip to Dagestan and the neighboring country of Azerbaijan. Her work is part of a semester-long fellowship with the International Reporting Project program at Johns Hopkins University's international studies school, the director of the program said.
McEvers has not been charged with any crime, officials said.
McEvers' lawyer, Yursup Dzhakhbarov, said she was questioned as a witness, then released.
John Schidlovsky, director of the International Reporting Project in Washington, said McEvers planned to write about the economic, social and political situation of Dagestan, but had no particular angle. Schidlovsky said McEvers was scheduled to return to the United States on Friday.
He said that McEvers told him that police confiscated her notebooks and equipment and asked about people whom she had interviewed in Dagestan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Anzhela Martirosova could not say why McEvers had been detained, and a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow declined comment.