Former US Marine Trevor Reed has begun a hunger strike in a Russian jail to protest at being put in solitary confinement and not receiving proper medical care despite fears he has tuberculosis, according to his parents.
The 30-year-old Texan is serving a nine-year jail term after being convicted of endangering the lives of two policemen while drunk on a visit to Moscow in 2019. He denied the charges and the United States called his trial a “theatre of the absurd”.
His parents said on Wednesday that Reed, who is in a prison in the region of Mordovia, was exposed to an inmate with active tuberculosis in December last year, but that their son had not been tested for the illness despite his health rapidly deteriorating.
He was put in a prison hospital for 10 days, but then returned to the prison last week without having received “meaningful medical care beyond an X-ray which was taken incorrectly”, they said.
“Trevor’s Mordovian lawyer was able to see him (on Tuesday) and confirmed that Trevor began a hunger strike … to protest being sent back to solitary while injured and having TB,” the parents said in a statement.
“Soon after he returned, Trevor asked authorities at the IK-12 gulag to return to the hospital. Instead, authorities returned him to solitary confinement,” they said.
Reed staged a hunger strike late last year to protest his incarceration and alleged rights abuses before calling it off almost a week later, having lost weight.
Russia’s prison authority denied he had been refusing food or that his rights were being violated.