Russian court upholds nine-year sentence for US ex-Marine Reed

US ambassador calls the decision an ‘absurd miscarriage of justice’ as Trevor Reed plans further appeal.

Former United States Marine Trevor Reed, who was detained in 2019 and accused of assaulting police officers, stands inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Moscow [File: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

A Russian appeals court on Monday upheld a nine-year prison sentence for Trevor Reed, a former United States Marine who was convicted last year of endangering the lives of two police officers in August 2019, charges he denies.

US Ambassador John Sullivan, who returned to Moscow last week after leaving in April amid a diplomatic crisis, said he regretted the court’s decision.

“Today marks another sad milestone as Trevor Reed’s appeal was denied,” Sullivan said, in comments shared on Twitter by the embassy’s spokesperson.

“[It is] another absurd miscarriage of justice in Russia as the world watches,” Sullivan said.

Reed’s defence team plans to lodge a further appeal, the RIA news agency cited Reed’s lawyer as saying.

Reed, at the time a student from Texas, allegedly attacked police while drunk after attending a party in Moscow.

His family has cited what they say are irregularities in the proceedings and said the prosecution’s request for a nearly 10-year sentence was excessive.

“This is completely a political case,” Reed told journalists after his guilty verdict in July 2020. “I will be asking my government for political support.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart President Joe Biden discussed the topic of prisoner swaps at talks in Geneva this month.

Biden and Putin agreed in Geneva to hold talks on arms control and to return their respective ambassadors to their posts, but discord remained between Washington and Moscow on human rights, cyberattacks, election interference and Ukraine.

The meeting on June 16 was the first between the two leaders since Biden took office in January, and lasted for more than three hours.

Reed is one of a number of Americans jailed in Russia on what their families and US government officials have said are exaggerated charges.

Paul Whelan, a 50-year-old former US Marine, was sentenced in May 2020 to 16 years in prison on espionage charges in a case US officials have called a mockery of justice.

Source: Reuters