This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A court in Moscow has ordered mental assessments for former U.S. Marine, Trevor Reed, who was sentenced to 9 years in prison in Russia for assaulting police, a charge he has rejected.
The Moscow City Court began a hearing into Reed’s appeal on February 10 with a ruling that the 29-year-old Texas student must undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluations before the hearing could resume at a later date.
A district court in Moscow sentenced Reed in late July after finding him guilty of assaulting two police officers. Reed denies the charge saying he does not remember anything about the incident as he was drunk at the time.
Reed and his family have insisted that the case is politically motivated, and have urged the U.S. government to intervene.
U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan condemned the conviction and sentencing at the time, calling it “theater of the absurd.”
Reed is one of several American citizens to face trial in Russia in recent years on charges that their families, supporters, and in some cases the U.S. government, have said appear trumped up.
Last June, 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.
Some analysts believe Moscow is looking to use the American prisoners in a swap for Russians being held in the United States.