30 Mar 2022 14:35

U.S. citizen Reed goes on hunger strike for second time at Mordovia penal colony

MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Texas student Trevor Reed, who was given nine years in a penal colony for attacking police officers in Moscow in the summer of 2019, has once again gone on hunger strike in the penitentiary in Russia's internal republic of Mordovia.

"I can confirm this information," Reed's lawyer Sergei Nikitenkov told Interfax when asked whether his client has started a hunger strike.

According to the U.S. citizen's family, Reed went on hunger strike because of a suspicion of having tuberculosis and because he was placed in a punitive isolation ward.

Interfax does not yet have comments on the situation from the regional branch of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN).

Reed previously went on hunger strike in November of last year. However, the FSIN branch for Mordovia said then that the American had not made any announcements of a hunger strike and was continuing to eat as usual.

On July 30, 2020, the Golovinsky District Court of Moscow sentenced Reed to nine years in a general security penal colony on charges of using violence against law enforcement officers. The court also ordered that Reed pay 100,000 rubles in moral damages to the two aggrieved police officers.

The Moscow City Court upheld Reed's sentence on July 28, 2021.

According to the court filings, the police received a report saying that a man was arguing aggressively with two women near 106 Leningradskoye Highway in Moscow on August 16, 2019. Police officers arrived at the scene and tried to calm the man down, but he began behaving aggressively and resisted them.

The officers had to force the man into a police car and then took him to the Levoberezhny police station. On the way there, Reed assaulted the driver, tore his uniform, hit his colleague, and provoked a dangerous traffic situation.

Once at the police station, the man was identified as Trevor Reed, a 28-year-old student born in Texas, the United States, who was living temporarily in an apartment on Otkrytoye Highway in Moscow. A court ordered his arrest the next day.

When speaking in court, Reed did not admit any wrongdoing and claimed that he did not remember the incident, as he was drunk at the time.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Moscow and Washington were discussing the Reed case on the highest level and noted the need for his release from custody.

U.S. diplomats and Reed's lawyers said in February that the U.S. citizen could be ill with tuberculosis.