Friday, July 31, 2020 2:59 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The family of a former U.S. Marine Corps veteran who got a nine-year prison sentence in Russia for assaulting two police officers say the sentence is unjust and politically motivated.
Trevor Reed was charged in August 2019 with assaulting the officers who were driving him to a police station after picking him up following a night of heavy drinking at a party. Russian authorities say the 28-year-old grabbed the arm of the driving officer, causing him to swerve into another lane, and elbowed another officer who tried to intervene.
Reed was visiting Russia for the summer to take Russian language classes for his bachelor’s degree and spend time with his girlfriend, a resident of Moscow, according to his GoFundMe page.
Reed said he has no recollection of what happened during and after his arrest and has since been jailed in Moscow, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His parents have been urging the court system and government for a fair trial for their son.
On Thursday, Reed was sentenced following a trial in which the prosecution’s case and the evidence presented against him were so preposterous that they provoked laughter in the courtroom, according to a statement to Russia from U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan.
“Even the judge laughed,” Sullivan’s statement continued. “This conviction, and a sentence of nine years, for an alleged crime that so obviously did not occur, is ridiculous. I cannot even say ‘miscarriage of justice’ because clearly ‘justice’ was not even considered. This was theater of the absurd."
Sullivan pledged to continue to advocate on Reed’s behalf and said that the safety and welfare of all U.S. citizens in Russia is his highest priority.