Trevor Reed: Ex-US Marine jailed in Russia for assaulting police

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, Trevor Reed appeared wearing a face mask in a cage for defendants in a Moscow courtroom

A Russian court has sentenced a former US Marine to nine years in prison for assaulting two police officers while drunk last year.

Trevor Reed - a student aged 29 - has been in jail since last year when he was arrested for the alleged attack.

He and his family say the accusations are politically motivated, and have urged the US government to intervene.

In June, Russia sentenced another US citizen, Paul Whelan, to 16 years in a high-security prison on spying charges.

They are among a number of US citizens Russia has charged since relations between the countries began to deteriorate, correspondents say.

There has been speculation that they could become part of a possible prisoner swap reportedly being negotiated by Moscow and Washington.

Whelan's lawyer has previously said he believes Moscow wants to exchange Whelan for high-profile Russians held in US prisons.

"This is completely a political case," Reed told journalists after the verdict. "I will be asking my government for political support."

Reed's parents say the case against their son is marked by discrepancies, including missing evidence and contradictory accounts by police officers.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge of endangering the lives of two police officers who were driving him to a police station after detaining him after he attended a party in Moscow. He says he remembers nothing of the incident because he was drunk at the time.

While inside the police car, Reed is said to have grabbed the police officer driving, causing him to swerve dangerously, and elbowed another officer who tried to intervene.

He went to Moscow last year to learn Russian and visit his Russian girlfriend.

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