Former UW student arrested while reporting in Russia

Former UW student arrested while reporting in Russia

A man from Stoughton working as a journalist in Russia was detained during a protest, Sunday.
Alec Luhn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in journalism and Russian. So working as a correspondent for The Guardian in Russia was a perfect fit.

“There’s a lot of crazy stuff happening here. There’s a lot of stuff to be reported on here, ” Luhn said during an interview with News 3 via Skype.

However, he never expected he’d be a part of the news he was covering. While covering an anti-corruption protest in the heart of Moscow Luhn was picked up by police.

“A group of riot police started detaining people and I took out my phone to take a photo of it and I was immediately detained,” Luhn said.

Luhn shot video and live tweeted while he was thrown into a paddy wagon with protesters who were arrested. He said the experience was unlike anything he has encountered in Russia in his seven years there.

“I was surprised that they had not let me go right away,” Luhn said. “I’ve been working in Russia since 2010 and usually once police understand that you’re a foreign journalist, they don’t throw you around. The don’t know how to deal with you so they leave you alone.”

Luhn remained in police custody for about five hours and was charged with holding an unsanctioned protest. Despite the ordeal he will stay put in Russia.

“If anything I feel more energized more rejuvenated to keep doing what I’m doing.” he said.

Luhn is working with the Foreign Ministry right to get the charges dropped. He said he’s confident that will happen.