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Russian Court Denies U.S. Marine's Appeal

Updated

Trevor Reed in court in July 2020.

A Russian court has upheld the nine-year prison sentence of U.S. Marine Trevor Reed after being convicted in July 2020 for assaulting two police officer, in what the U.S. ambassador to Moscow called “another absurd miscarriage of justice."

"The verdict of the Golovinsky District Court of Moscow has been left without change, the appeal is without satisfaction," the Moscow City Court said on June 28 in a statement.

The U.S. government and Reed deny the allegations and have questioned the fairness of the judicial proceedings.

Reed and his family have insisted that the case is politically motivated, and have urged the U.S. government to intervene.

U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan, who returned to Moscow last week after leaving in April amid a diplomatic crisis, said the court's decision “marks another sad milestone.”

“Another absurd miscarriage of justice in Russia as the world watches. We will not cease to advocate for Trevor & for US citizens denied an open & fair judicial process, a universal human right,” a U.S. Embassy spokesman quoted Sullivan as saying.

The 29-year-old Reed, who is from Texas, traveled to Moscow in May 2019 to study Russian and spend time with his Russian girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik.

On August 15, 2019, several days before his trip back to Texas, Reed and his girlfriend attended a party organized by her colleagues. He claims to have no memory of what happened following the party, where he says he was encouraged to drink large quantities of vodka.

In a car going home afterward, Reed said he felt unwell, asked the driver to stop, and got out. His girlfriend's co-worker called police and left the site with another colleague, leaving Tsybulnik alone with Reed.

Two police officers arrived at the scene and took Reed in to sober up, reportedly telling Tsybulnik to come back in a few hours and pick him up.

Tsybulnik told RFE/RL that when she arrived at the police station later, Reed was being questioned, without a lawyer or interpreter present, by two men who introduced themselves as employees of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Tsybulnik was told that her boyfriend was accused of endangering the lives of the policemen who brought him in by yanking the driver's arm and elbowing another officer who tried to intervene.

The case against Reed has been marred by inconsistencies. Video evidence reviewed in court appeared to show no evidence that the police vehicle swerved as a result of Reed's actions, as alleged by the police officers.

U.S. Ambassador Sullivan condemned the conviction and sentencing at the time, calling it "theater of the absurd."

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.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS
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