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Jailed U.S. Ex-Marine On Hunger Strike In Russian Prison

Trevor Reed stands inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Moscow in July 2020.
Trevor Reed stands inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Moscow in July 2020.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed has begun a hunger strike at the Russian prison where he is serving a nine-year sentence.

Attorneys Sergei Nikitenkov and Viktoria Buklova told the Interfax news agency on November 9 that their client had been on hunger strike for four days to protest violations of his rights, including his "illegal" placement in solitary confinement in September.

His family said in a statement that Reed was protesting his "arbitrary detention" and "flagrant violations of his basic human rights and his rights under Russian law."

The Federal Penitentiary Service's (FSIN) directorate in Mordovia on November 9 rejected the lawyers' statement, saying Reed continued to consume food.

"Employees of the correctional facility have not violated any regulations related to interaction with the named inmate," the FSIN said.

Reed is incarcerated in Mordovia, a region about 350 kilometers east of Moscow with a long reputation for hosting Russia's toughest prisons, including Soviet-era labor camps for political prisoners.

Reed, who is from Texas, was sentenced in 2020 after being arrested and charged with assaulting two Russian police officers in 2019. The U.S. government and Reed deny the allegations and questioned the fairness of the judicial proceedings.

Reed is one of several Americans to face trial in Russia in recent years on charges that their families, supporters, and in some cases the U.S. government, have said appear trumped-up.

Another former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, was sentenced by a court in Moscow to 16 years in prison in May 2020 on espionage charges condemned by the United States as a "mockery of justice."

Whelan, who like Reed maintains his innocence, is also currently serving his prison term in a prison in Mordovia.

The United States has been pushing Russia to release Whelan and Reed.

With reporting by Interfax and Reuters

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