Russian court rejects appeal by jailed former U.S. Marine
A Russian court on Tuesday dismissed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed's appeal against his conviction and prison sentence on assault charges and sent the case down to a lower court. U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, who was at the proceedings Tuesday, said he was "very disappointed that justice has again been denied."
"His appeal was not decided today, the proceedings continue, and Trevor remains in prison for a crime he didn't commit," Sullivan told reporters after the court hearing.
Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2020 after being convicted of assaulting two Russian police officers on a drunken night out the previous year. He said he has no recollection of the incident and pleaded not guilty. The U.S. government has raised concerns about the fairness of his trial.
His family has voiced serious concerns for his heath, saying they believe he contracted tuberculosis in prison and that he's not receiving proper medical care despite Russia's prison service saying last week that he was transferred to the prison hospital.
In a statement released on Monday, Reed's parents said they had managed to "re-establish indirect contact" with their son after not hearing from him for almost a week. Late last week the family issued a demand for Russia's prison service to prove that Reed was still alive.
In their statement on Monday, the family noted Tuesday's looming appeal hearing and said while they believed his case was "strong," they had "little hope for a successful judicial outcome."
Nonetheless, Reed's parents said they felt it was "important to continue to pursue Trevor's appeal rights vigorously."
Parents Joey and Paula Reed voiced mounting concern over Trevor's "rapidly declining health" last week, while calling on the Biden administration to help bring their son home.
"Our son is out of time," they said in a statement. "With each passing day lost to 'deliberations' the risk of our son becoming the next Otto Warmbier grows significantly."
Warmbier died in 2017 after being released from captivity in North Korea.
Reed spent several weeks on a hunger strike, starting in late March, to protest the conditions of his detention. The Federal Penitentiary Service for the Mordovia region, where Reed is imprisoned, said last week that he had ended his hunger strike and been transferred to a prison medical facility.
But Reed's parents repeated in their statement on Monday that they had been unable to confirm that he was eating or that he was transferred to a prison hospital.
"The last time Trevor went silent while allegedly in a 'hospital,' Russian authorities 'accidentally' 'misplaced' him for 9 days in a psychiatric ward at the infamous Butyrka prison where he was badly mistreated and held in shocking conditions with dangerous inmates, including murderers, in a cell with walls covered in feces," they said.
Reed's parents previously told CBS News they believe he is suffering from active tuberculosis as well as a rib injury and denied that their son was getting the necessary medical care.
"He's coughing up blood. He's still running a fever occasionally. He feels horrible, and now he says he can see something protruding outside of his — where he thinks his rib is broken," Paula Reed told CBS News on Friday last week, after she and her husband met President Biden.
The couple protested outside the White House on March 30 to bring attention to their son's case and were invited inside for a meeting with Mr. Biden. The Reeds said Mr. Biden "was very gracious" and listened to them talk about their son's health and prisoner swaps.
The White House has said Mr. Biden is committed to securing the release of Reed and Paul Whelan, another former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges that the U.S. and his family say are fabricated.
Professional basketball player Brittney Griner has also been held in Russia since mid-February on drug charges.
Mary Ilyushina contributed reporting.
Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.