MOSCOW – A Russian court on Thursday ruled against a 29-year-old former US sailor who was detained last year on charges of assaulting a police officer after a night of drinking alcohol in Moscow and sentenced him to 9 years in a Russian prison.
Trevor Reed’s nine-year sentence is close to the maximum sentence for these charges, which is 10 years. He has been awaiting trial in Russian detention for almost a year. Prosecutors on Wednesday asked for 9 years and 8 months.
The defendant, his family and his Russian girlfriend deny the allegations and claim that he became only the last example of an unjust accusation of American citizens in Russia. During the closing arguments on Wednesday, Reed said he would not admit guilt for the crime he did not commit.
“I think it would be unethical and immoral to confess to a crime I did not commit,”; he said in his closing statement on the eve of the verdict. “If I was sentenced to imprisonment, I would rather remain in prison than a free liar and coward walking tomorrow.”
Other cases, such as that of another former US sailor, Paul Whelan, have received much more political and media attention, probably due to the nature of the accusations against Whelan – espionage – and the open discussion about its use as a bargaining chip. with the United States.
But Reed’s father, Joey, spent the last year in Moscow defending his son in an effort to keep his case from falling under the radar.. Russian courts have a very high level of conviction and exemptions are becoming increasingly rare.
“I’m nervous and nervous,” Reed’s mother, Paula, told NBC News on Tuesday. “Of course, I tried to prepare for the worst, but if you really think too hard … I’m probably not ready.” You just feel hopeless and do what they do. “
Reed, a native of Texas, spent the summer of 2019 in Moscow studying Russian and visiting his girlfriend – a lawyer in Moscow – and last August he was preparing to return home, according to his family. However, just a few days before his return, he celebrated the night with his friends and co-workers.
Alina Tsybulnik, Reed’s girlfriend, said in an interview that he was ill while a colleague took them home. The driver stopped the car, Reed and Tsybulnik got out, and the driver called the police when it was clear that Reed was in poor condition.
“I was not able to call the police,” Tsybulnik said. “He was a colleague of mine. She had never met Trevor before and did not want to deal with it. He was in trouble, his lips were blue and he needed medical help and he didn’t answer me, he didn’t know where he was. ‘ “
When police arrived, they put Reed in the back of the car and then took him to the police station, Tsybulnik said. According to police, Reed became aggressive while driving and pulled on the driver’s shoulder – the car twisted.
They accuse him of endangering the lives of police officers and at the same time encircle him in the passenger seat. Tsybulnik claims that the police presented the jacket to the court with a torn arm in an attempt to prove that he was pulling the driver.
He says it’s simply not possible.
“We were watching the car and it was driving quite slowly, it didn’t turn around,” she said. “[Reed] slept in the back of the car. That’s why they didn’t handcuff him. “
Reed, meanwhile, has said in previous interviews that he has no recollection of the event – a claim his family confirmed in NBC News.
Joey Reed, a Texas firefighter, was deeply aware of the evidence against his son while renting an apartment in Moscow – he even gave up the COVID-19 blockade, which stopped life in the Russian capital in April and May, he said.
“I told him he had to be the father of the year,” Paula Reed said of her husband’s efforts.