July 31 (UPI) — A Moscow court Thursday sentenced former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed to nine years in prison over a conviction of assaulting police.
Reed, 29, of Texas, had been detained since August 2019 on accusations of assaulting police officers while he was drunk. He says he does not remember the incident. After traveling to Moscow to be with his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, he had attended a party for his girlfriend’s colleagues on Aug. 15, when he was urged to drink “a large amount of Vodka and apparently became inebriated,” a family statement said.
Reed, who is also a University of North Texas student, along with being a former U.S. Marine, pleaded not guilty, and told reporters the case was “clearly political.”
A U.S. 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.
“The evidence was so flimsy and preposterous that everyone in the courtroom even the judge, laughed when it was presented,” Sullivan said. “If this case had been brought in a U.S. court, not only would it have been thrown out, but the prosecutors would be investigated for bringing it forward in the first place.”
“This is not a good story for U.S.-Russia relations,” Sullivan also told NBC News shortly after the Reed verdict Thursday. “And it is not good for encouraging U.S. private citizens and business to visit and invest here if what they did to [Reed] can be done to anyone.”
Another case involving a former U.S. Marine received media attention last month. A Russian court on June 15 convicted U.S. Marine Paul Whelan of espionage and sentenced him to 16 years in prison.
Whelan has denied the allegations and has called the case “politically motivated.”