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US Ambassador visits Marine vet in Russia prison on ‘laughable’ evidence

Trevor Reed (GoFundMe/Released)
September 03, 2020

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan on Monday visited Trevor Reed, a 29-year-old retired U.S. Marine convicted in Russia on allegations he assaulted a police officer in Moscow.

Standing outside the Moscow prison where Reed is being held, Sullivan called the evidence supporting the Marine’s conviction “laughable,” the Associated Press reported.

In July, Reed was given a nine-year prison sentence on charges he assaulted two officers, after a night of heavy drinking. Reed’s case was reportedly marred with inconsistent testimony. Police claimed Reed assaulted the officers after they placed him in a police vehicle, hitting one officer and pulling on the wheel of the car to cause it to swerve. Reed’s defense team was reportedly never given any copy of the video from inside the police vehicle, purporting to show Reed’s actions. Video shown in court did not appear to establish that Reed took any actions that caused the police vehicle to swerve.

On Monday, after having met with Reed for two hours, Sullivan stood outside the Russian prison facility and said, “He’s been detained and convicted on evidence that is laughable.”

“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,” Sullivan added. “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.”

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According to his mother, Reed has been suffering recently from abnormal blood pressure and heart rate.

Reed is one of three Americans currently being detained in Russia.

Fellow Marine Paul Whelan, a former corporate security executive, sentenced in June to 16 years in prison on espionage charges. Russian prosecutors claimed Whelan was traveling with a flash drive that contained Russian state secrets, however, Whelan’s defense team has said Whelan was set up and that he was given the flash drive shortly before he was arrested. His defense team said Whelan believed he was receiving photos taken during his vacation to Russia at the time he received the drive.

The third American citizen, U.S. investor Michael Calvey, has been held under house arrest in Russia since April 2019 on financial fraud charges.

President Donald Trump has not commented publicly on Reed’s case, though Sullivan said “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. 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.”