US ambassador visits ex-Marine imprisoned in Russia

Politics

MOSCOW (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Russia on Monday visited a former Marine who is imprisoned for assaulting police officers in Moscow, calling his conviction a mockery of justice.

Trevor Reed, 29, was convicted in July and sentenced to nine years in prison for an altercation in August 2019 in Moscow, where he was studying Russian and visiting his girlfriend. He allegedly assaulted police officers who were driving him to a police station after picking him up following a night of heavy drinking at a party.

Russian authorities said Reed was drunk inside a police car when he grabbed the arm of the driver, causing him to swerve into another lane, and elbowed another officer who tried to intervene. But investigators didn’t give the defense team the video that was recorded inside the police car.

“He’s been detained and convicted on evidence that is laughable,” U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan said outside the Moscow prison after being inside for two hours. “I’m proud to say as an American that Trevor seems to be doing as well as can be expected. He’s an extremely impressive young man and it pains me to see him detained under these circumstances.”

“It’s important that he gets the medical treatment he needs and we will be advocating for that vigorously and of course for his release so that he can come home to the United States,” Sullivan said.

He didn’t specify Reed’s medical problems, but Reed’s mother had previously told The Associated Press that he was suffering from abnormal blood pressure and heart rate.

Reed is one of three Americans imprisoned or detained in Russia under controversial circumstances. Paul Whelan, a former corporate security executive, was convicted in June of espionage and sentenced to 16 years. His lawyer has said his client was handed a flash drive that had classified information on it that he didn’t know about. Investment banker Michael Calvey has been under house arrest since April 2019, facing charges of fraud.

Although President Donald Trump publicly called on Sweden to release rapper A$AP Rocky when he was held there on an assault charge, he has made no public statement on Reed’s case.

“I know that President Trump has been briefed on and is concerned about Trevor Reed’s detention and the other Americans unjustly detained in Russia,” Sullivan said. “I don’t want to go into detail about what the president or other senior government leaders … have said or done in discussions with Russian government officials.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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