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Imprisoned Ex-U.S. Marine Diagnosed With COVID After Russia Denies Him Vaccine

Trevor Reed, charged with attacking police, stands inside a defendants' cage during his verdict hearing at a Moscow court on July 30, 2020.
Trevor Reed, charged with attacking police, stands inside a defendants' cage during his verdict hearing at a Moscow court on July 30, 2020.

An American imprisoned in Russia has tested positive for COVID-19 after prison officials denied a U.S. Embassy request to vaccinate him, his family said on May 25.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed began experiencing a cough and fever on May 17 and those symptoms worsened throughout the week, including loss of smell.

“Despite having been obviously symptomatic, jail officials cleared him to travel to court yesterday to review documents and the judge hearing his appeal refused to order any additional medical tests,” his family said in a statement.

The family said U.S. Embassy officials “some time ago” had requested permission to vaccinate the 29-year-old and Russian officials refused.

“Trevor now has COVID as a result of a toxic mix of incompetence, recklessness, and spitefulness on the part of Russian authorities,” the statement said. “Needless to say, should anything happen to Trevor, we will hold the Russian government entirely responsible.”

Reed is serving a nine-year prison sentence after being convicted in July 2020 for assaulting two police officers. The U.S. government and Reed deny the allegations and questioned the fairness of the judicial proceedings.

Reed is one of several American citizens 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, 50-year-old 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.”

The United States has been pushing Russia to release Whelan and Reed. The issue is likely to come up when U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold their first bilateral summit in June.

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