The U.S. urged Russia to release Americans Reid and Whelan

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Washington is urging Russia to release American citizens Trevor Reid and Paul Whelan, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

“We have established channels of communication with Russia at several levels — we have a Senate-approved secretary of state, we have a national security adviser and several high-level staffers at the State Department — and we are again taking the opportunity to urge Russia to release both Mr. Reid and Paul Whelan soon,” Psaki said.

The Moscow City Court was scheduled to hear an appeal of Reid’s sentence on Wednesday, but the hearing was postponed.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan also called for the immediate release of the student Reid. Sullivan noted that “this case is a priority for both U.S. President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken.”

In July 2020, Reed was sentenced to nine years in a general-security prison for using violence against authority figures.

According to the story of the case, on Aug. 16, 2019, police received a report that a man was arguing with two women near House 106 on Leningrad Highway. A patrol-and-post service crew arrived and tried to calm the man down, but he showed aggression and resisted the police officers.

The patrolmen forcefully put the detainee in a squad car and took him to the Interior Ministry department of the Left-bank area. On the way, the detainee attacked the driver and hit his partner, creating an emergency situation on the road. In court, Reid pleaded not guilty and said that he did not remember what happened because he was drunk.

U.S. citizen Paul Whelan was convicted in Russia of espionage and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He is serving his sentence in penal colony No. 17 in Mordovia. Whelan pleaded not guilty, but decided not to appeal the verdict, because he hopes for an exchange.

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