U.S. English Instructor Sentenced to 14 Years in Russia for Pot ‘Smuggling’


Former U.S. Embassy diplomat Marc Fogel was not too long ago sentenced to 14 years in jail for hashish trafficking. Except for his position on the U.S. Embassy, Fogel was working as an English teacher on the Anglo-American College in Moscow, Russia. On August 15, 2021, he was caught in possession of 17 grams (or 0.6 ounces) of hashish in his baggage on the Sheremetyevo Worldwide Airport. He had diplomatic immunity till Could 2021.

Based on a current Moscow court docket ruling, “The American citizen Fogel has been discovered responsible” due to “large-scale medicine smuggling, large-scale unlawful storage of medication with no business objective.”

Fogel mentioned that a health care provider had advisable medical hashish to him within the U.S. to deal with ache that adopted after he had spinal surgical procedure. “He insists that it was medical marijuana and claims that a health care provider prescribed it to him in america, which is allegedly confirmed by an entry within the medical report,” mentioned Moscow human rights committee member Alexander Khurudzhi. Moreover, Fogel argued that he didn’t know that medical hashish was unlawful.

A Russian information company known as Interfax reported that Fogel has plead responsible to those prices: “On June 16, 2022, the Khimki Metropolis Court docket of the Moscow area discovered U.S. citizen Marc Fogel responsible of committing crimes below Half 3 of Article 229.1 (drug smuggling), Half 2 of Article 228 (unlawful acquisition, possession, transportation, manufacture, and processing of narcotic medicine) of the Russian Legal Code, and sentenced him to 14 years’ imprisonment to be served in a high-security penal colony,” Interfax wrote.

This ruling occurred in the identical jurisdiction that’s discussing the detainment of WNBA athlete Brittney Griner, who was arrested for possession of vape cartridges in February. Most not too long ago, Lebron James known as out for help. “We have to come collectively and assist do no matter we probably can to deliver BG dwelling rapidly and safely!! Our voice as athletes is stronger collectively,” James said on Twitter, in partnership with a help marketing campaign known as “We Are BG” from Uninterrupted.

“For over 100 days, BG has confronted inhumane circumstances in a Russian jail and has been denied communications together with her household and family members,” Uninterrupted wrote and shared on social media. “As a embellished Olympian and member of an elite world sport neighborhood, BG’s detention should be resolved out of respect for the sanctity of all sport and for all Individuals touring internationally. It’s crucial that the U.S. Authorities instantly deal with this human rights challenge and do no matter is important to return Brittney dwelling.”

Based on TMZ, well-known Boxer Roy Jones Jr. (who has twin citizenship within the U.S. and Russia) is at the moment helping with getting Griner launched. Nonetheless, most up-to-date protection reviews that Griner’s detention will final till at the least July 7.

In Russia, each adult-use and medical hashish is prohibited. This isn’t the primary time that hashish has gotten overseas guests to Russia in sizzling water. In 2019, a 26-year-old woman traveling from India to Israel was present in possession of 9 grams of hashish—to which she acquired over seven months of time in jail for drug trafficking (though she was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2020). Equally, a 19-year-old film student traveled to Russia with 19 grams of medical hashish and spent a month in jail, and left with a 15,000 rubles fantastic ($230 in U.S. {dollars}).

Within the case of Griner, U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins advised AZcentral.com that hashish possession is continuously used as a strategy to convict focused people. “On this case, Russian authorities look like utilizing alleged hashish possession as a pretext for holding a outstanding American as leverage. Brittney Griner should not be used as a pawn by Russia. We urge the U.S. authorities to make use of all accessible channels to safe her speedy return dwelling.”

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