USA “deeply concerned” when Russian court upholds ex-Marine Trevor Reed’s prison sentence
Moscow – A Moscow court on Monday upheld the nine-year prison sentence previously imposed on former US Marines, one of from Russia as a bargaining chip for a possible prisoner exchange. Reed, a 29-year-old from Texas, has been incarcerated in Moscow since a drunken birthday party in 2019.
His family said he was first taken to a police station to sober up, but after being questioned by agents from the Russian security service FSB, he was charged with assaulting two police officers. A year later he was found guilty and sentenced to a long prison term.
Reed pleaded not guilty, saying the harsh verdict led him to believe his trial was “entirely political”. His lawyers said it was the harshest sentence ever imposed for the indictment in Russia.
The US Embassy in Moscow has repeatedly called the judgment a “miscarriage of justice”.
US Ambassador John Sullivan, who returned to Moscow just last week after leaving amid diplomatic crisis, commented on the court’s decision “another sad milestone” and “another absurd miscarriage of justice in Russia as the world watches” that the American has published online message.
“We are deeply concerned about the decision by a Moscow court to uphold Trevor Reed’s nine-year prison sentence,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a tweet. “The US will continue to work for Trevor until Russia does the right thing and returns him to his family. Trevor has been deprived of his freedom for far too long.”
After Monday’s hearing, Reed’s defense team said she would apply for cassation, but her client would not seek a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“A pardon suggests an admission of guilt, and our client does not admit guilt,” said lawyer Viktoria Buklova, according to the state agency TASS. “We believe all of the evidence … confirms Reed’s innocence.”
Buklova added, however, that “In theory, Reed can be exchanged for one of the convicted Russian citizens in the US to continue serving his sentence in America. However, this is already beyond the confidence of the defense.”
At their landmark bilateral summit in Geneva earlier this month, Putin and President Joe Biden discussed both the Reed and the cases of, another former U.S. Marine detained in Russia on espionage charges.
After the meeting, the Kremlin indicated that it may be ready to work out a deal to free the Americans.
Russia has long sought the transfer of two of its US citizens: Viktor Bout, a notorious arms dealer nicknamed the “Dealer of Death,” whom the American side is unlikely to include in a prisoner exchange, and Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot because of Convicted of cocaine smuggling into the US