Russian Court Further Detains Ex-Marine on Charges His Family Calls False


MOSCOW — A Russian court on Tuesday ordered a former United States Marine be detained for another six months on accusations he assaulted police officers in Moscow last year, a charge that his defense team has called “fraudulent.”

The arrest of the former service member, Trevor Reed, 28, of Texas, has drawn comparisons to the 2018 detention in Russia of another ex-Marine, Paul N. Whelan, on espionage accusations.

That case, along with the detention of Mr. Reed, has been seen by some as intended to create leverage for a potential prisoner exchange. The families of both men have called for the United States government to intervene.

“He is an American citizen who was jailed for something that we don’t believe that he did,” Mr. Reed’s father said in an interview outside the courtroom on Tuesday. “Because we believe that the charges are false, we would like for the U.S. government to look at the case closely.”

Mr. Reed’s family has not spoken to the news media since his arrest more than six months ago, wary of upsetting the Kremlin by making broad statements about what may be the motives behind his prosecution. But they argue that his being held in a Moscow detention center while awaiting trial is disproportionate to the charges against him.

In a bail hearing on Tuesday, the court declined an offer by Mr. Reed’s father to post bail of $15,300 and guarantee that the former Marine would remain in Russia throughout the trial. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison. His next hearing is scheduled for March 11.

Mr. Reed, who was honorably discharged from the Marines in 2016, traveled to Moscow last May to learn Russian and spend time with his Russian girlfriend, whom he had met during a vacation in Greece and whom the court identified as Alina Tsibulnik.

On Aug. 15, he attended a party for his girlfriend’s colleagues at which he was encouraged to drink a large amount of vodka, according to a statement issued by his family. Mr. Reed has said that he has no memory of what followed.

“There is also a possibility that he may have been given other substances without his knowledge,” the statement said.

After the party ended, Mr. Reed became highly agitated, leading his girlfriend and others to call the police so that he wouldn’t get hurt, according to the statement.

Officers took him to a police station and instructed his girlfriend to come back for him after two hours, his family said. Upon returning to the station, they said, she found Mr. Reed being interviewed by members of Russia’s Federal Security Agency, or F.S.B., the country’s most powerful security body.

The statement said the interview took place “without an attorney or adequate interpreter while he was still under the influence.”

Mr. Reed was subsequently accused of assault for grabbing the arm of the officer who was driving him to the police station, causing the vehicle to swerve. He was also accused of striking another officer who was sitting in the back seat. That officer suffered minor injuries.

In the case of Mr. Whelan, after his arrest in December 2018, he was held in solitary confinement in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo Prison, a facility long used by the K.G.B. and its successors for Soviet dissidents and foreign spies. He remains in prison.

And last October, a Russian court sentenced Naama Issachar, an American-Israeli woman, to seven and a half years in prison for carrying a few grams of marijuana in her luggage during a layover. Ms. Issachar’s family said they had been told that her destiny might depend on the fate of Aleksei Burkov, a Russian hacker who was arrested in Israel and was later extradited to the United States.

After months of high-profile diplomatic brinkmanship by top Israeli officials, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia pardoned Ms. Issachar in January.


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