25.02.2024

Russian Prosecutors Demand Nearly 10 Years’ Jail for U.S. Ex-Marine

Russian prosecutors on Wednesday asked for a sentence of nearly 10 years in a penal colony for a former U.S. marine accused of attacking police officers.

Trevor Reed, a 28-year-old student and former Marine from Texas, allegedly attacked police while drunk after attending a party last year.

He is accused of grabbing one policeman while being driven to a police station and elbowing another.

A spokeswoman for Moscow’s Golovinsky district court told AFP that prosecutors asked the judge to impose a sentence of 9 years and 8 months, close to the maximum possible sentence of 10 years.

The verdict will be announced Thursday.

Reed has been held in a Moscow prison in pre-trial detention since August 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying he remembers nothing of the incident.

His defense team has pointed to discrepancies in the evidence given by the police officers.

The case has attracted attention owing to the lengthy sentence faced by a U.S. citizen and speculation in Russian and U.S. media that Reed could become part of a prisoner swap.

In June, Russia convicted U.S. citizen Paul Whelan, also an ex-Marine, to 16 years in a penal colony on an espionage charge, also prompting speculation that he could participate in a prisoner swap.

Whelan’s brother David said in a statement on Wednesday that «our family is not privy to government discussions, if there are any, about Paul’s case.»

Russian Prisons Chief Confirms Navalny in Penal Colony

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a penal colony where he will serve more than two years, the head of Russia’s prison service said on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent was this month sentenced to two years and six months in a penal colony for breaching parole terms while recovering in Germany from a poisoning attack.

«He has been transferred to where he is supposed to be under the court ruling,» the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Alexander Kalashnikov, the head of the Federal Prison Service, as saying.

Kalashnikov did not disclose the name of the prison but insisted that Navalny would serve his sentence in «absolutely normal conditions.»

«I guarantee that there exists no threat to his life and health,» he added.

Last week the European Court of Human Rights had ordered Russia to release Navalny, saying his life was in danger in prison, but Moscow swiftly rejected the call.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Prison Service said she could not provide further details and was not at liberty to release personal data about convicts.

Navalny’s lawyer Vadim Kobzev told AFP on Friday he was still unaware of his client’s whereabouts.

On Thursday afternoon the opposition politician’s defense team said Navalny had been transferred from a Moscow jail to an unknown location, possibly to a penal colony.

Navalny spent months recovering in Germany from the poisoning with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok that saw him fall ill on a flight in Siberia in August.

Russia has denied involvement but Navalny has said it was ordered by Putin.

Navalny was immediately arrested on return to Moscow in mid-January and Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.

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