Family says US Marine's Russian prison sentence is unjust

Cheryl Sanders
August 2, 2020

Moscow's Golovinsky Court has sentenced American citizen Trevor Reed to nine years in prison for resisting police officers when he was arrested in the summer of 2019.

He appeared wearing a facemask in a cage for defendants in a courtroom in the Russian capital as the judge read out the guilty verdict, saying the police officers had suffered "mental and physical harm".

But Reed and his family claimed in a statement to CNN that the charges were false and accused the Russian police of making false and contradictory statements and suppressing evidence that could exonerate him.

"We want our son home, I don't care how", Mr. Reed said in an interview.

"I will be asking my government for political support".

Reed told journalists after the verdict that "this is completely a political case", amid suspicion he is being used as a pawn in a potential prisoner swap.

Reed's defence called the charge against him fraudulent. Reed's team also alleges regular mistreatment by Russian authorities.

Russian prosecutors on Wednesday asked for a sentence of almost 10 years in a penal colony for a former USA marine accused of attacking police officers.

Reed is one of several American citizens convicted in Russian Federation in recent years on charges that their families and, in some cases, the United States government have said they have no basis.

During closing arguments on Wednesday, Reed said he would not admit guilt to a crime he didn't commit. The officers testified that during their trip to the station, Reed grabbed the driver's arm, causing the vehicle to swerve into the opposite lane.

Last month, another former U.S. Marine, 50-year-old Paul Whelan, was sentenced by a court in Moscow to 16 years in prison for espionage which he, his supporters, and the U.S. government have questioned. Police said Reed was detained for public drunkenness after leaving a party heavily intoxicated with his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, and one of her co-workers.

Prosecutors in Reed's case presented little forensic evidence, and the testimony of police officers was inconsistent.

But when she arrived at the police station around 9am, Tsibulnik says she found Reed being spoken to by two members of Russia's FSB - successor to the KGB.

Meanwhile, both the Russian and U.S. media have designated Reed as another candidate for a potential prisoner swap between Russia and the US.

There has been speculation that they could become part of a possible prisoner swap reportedly being negotiated by Moscow and Washington.

Other reports by iNewsToday