Ex-Marine Trevor Reed Sentenced To Nine Years In Russian Prison

Reuters  MAXIM SHEMETOV Former U.S. Marine Reed attends a court hearing in Moscow

Reed, 29, was arrested a year ago after a night of heavy drinking during a visit to Russian Federation to visit a lifelong girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, according to TASS and Reed's family. According to the prosecution, Reed resisted arrest, and once in the patrol vehicle, assaulted the police officer who was driving, tearing his uniform and hitting his partner.

A US ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, told NBC News that the nine-year sentence, which is close to the maximum penalty for the charges, is based on "flimsy" evidence. Mr. Reed, they said, elbowed one in the stomach.

"The evidence was so flimsy and preposterous that everyone in the courtroom, even the judge, laughed when it was presented", Sullivan said.

Trevor Reed, 29, was handed the sentence Thursday at a court in Moscow as the judge said he had caused the officers "mental and physical harm". He says he remembers nothing of the incident because he was drunk at the time. A number of observers see the cases as a Russian effort to create leverage for a potential prisoner exchange with the US government.

Reed, a Texas native, spent the summer of 2019 in Moscow studying Russian and visiting his girlfriend - a lawyer in Moscow - and was preparing to return home last August, his family says.

Following the verdict, the elder Reed said was planning to appeal directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the trial which he said was "completely corrupt".

Another former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, was sentenced in Russian Federation last month to spend 16 years in a penal colony after being convicted of spying.

Anxious for his safety, his girlfriend and others called police, she said.

"I have not been making public statements the way I have about other cases just because I was in effect giving the Russian judicial system an opportunity to do justice by Reed", he said. "It was my colleague who did it".

He pleaded not guilty to the charge of endangering the lives of two police officers who were driving him to a police station after detaining him after he attended a party in Moscow.

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).

CCTV footage presented in court did not appear to show the auto swerve.

She says that is simply not possible. "They could have even followed him before".

Reed is one of several American citizens to face trial in Russian Federation in recent years on charges that their families, supporters, and in some cases the USA government have said appear trumped up.

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