February 26, 2020 / 11:52 AM / a month ago

Russia extends detention of ex-U.S. marine over alleged assault

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Moscow court has ruled that a former U.S. marine accused of drunkenly assaulting Russian police officers six months ago last summer must remain in custody.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a bilateral meeting at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan June 28, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Trevor Reed, 28, from Texas, was arrested in Moscow in August. But his case, which could be another irritant in strained U.S.-Russian ties, was not made public until reports late on Tuesday by the New York Times and the TASS news agency.

The court confirmed Reed’s detention on its website on Wednesday, saying his case would next be heard in court on March 11.

Reed’s lawyer and family could not immediately be reached for comment. The charge against him carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

Reed is accused of attacking police officers in a car after they detained him at an address where he was inebriated, TASS cited case materials as saying. He denied the allegations during a preliminary investigation, it said.

Reed’s father told the New York Times that he and the defence believed the allegations to be false. He called on the U.S. government to look into the case.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow did not immediately comment, but said it had passed on a Reuters request for comment to Washington.

The New York Times cited a statement from Reed’s relatives saying the former U.S. Marine had visited Moscow in May to learn Russian and spend time with his Russian girlfriend, whom he had met in Greece.

It said police had been summoned after a party on Aug. 15 where Reed had drunk vodka and grown agitated. Reed’s girlfriend and others had called the police to prevent him getting hurt, it said.

Moscow’s relations with Washington are at post-Cold War lows and have been further strained by two prominent cases against U.S. nationals.

They include embezzlement charges against U.S. investor Michael Calvey, who is being held under house arrest, and the case of Paul Whelan, a former U.S. marine accused of espionage who has been held in custody since his arrest in December 2018.

Both deny the charges against them.

Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Editing by Andrew Osborn and Timothy Heritage

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