Senate Decision Calls For Launch of Russian Hashish Prisoner Marc Fogel


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Marc Fogel acquired a 14-year sentence for “large-scale medication smuggling” after he was present in possession of simply half an oz of hashish in Russia in August 2021. Whereas legislators have made many makes an attempt to help Fogel in returning to the U.S., there was little traction within the effort.

Most lately, the U.S. Senate accepted S.Con.Res.18 on June 4, which argues that Fogel was utilizing medical hashish legally in Pennsylvania for quite a lot of ache he suffers from. “Marc Fogel has undergone three again surgical procedures, a spinal fusion, a hip substitute, and two knee surgical procedures to right varied accidents and well being points, which have left him with continual again ache and a everlasting limp,” the decision acknowledged. It continued to elucidate that Fogel selected to not depend on opioids to deal with his ache, and as a substitute was prescribed medical hashish.

Sadly, the “Authorities of the Russian Federation has presented no evidence on the contrary,” however nonetheless sentenced Fogel to serve a sentence of 14-years in a Russian penal colony. 

Sponsor Sen. Bob Casey, spoke on the Senate flooring on June 5 after the decision had already handed. That ache got here from a hip substitute. It got here from a number of again surgical procedures, a number of knee surgical procedures, and a spinal fusion, which has left Marc with a everlasting limp,” said Casey. “Marc’s worsening medical situations and actions to herald lower than an oz of marijuana into Russia mustn’t require him to serve the complete 14-year sentence and a Russian penal colony—14 years imprisonment for lower than an oz of marijuana.”

Casey additionally addressed {that a} Russian lawyer informed Fogel’s household that low-level hashish possession often led to 5 years probation, and former offenders have acquired a lesser sentence when extra hashish was concerned. “Marc Fogel’s sentence is vastly disproportionate to the severity of his nonviolent crime, wildly dissimilar to the everyday punishments for comparable offenses in Russia, and clearly motivated by ongoing political tensions between Russia and the US,” the decision defined.

It concludes by calling on Russia to launch Fogel, for the U.S. to “press for his rapid launch,” condemns Russia for detaining a U.S. citizen, requires the discharge of different prisoners additionally serving “wrongful and illegal” Russian jail sentences (citing Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, Ksenia Khavana, Alsu Kurmasheva, and Vladimir Kara-Murza), and at last expressed “sympathy for and solidarity with” the households of those that have been detained and sentenced for varied crimes.

S.Con.Res.18 was first launched in June 2021, however the Home invoice H.Con.Res.60 has not but been reviewed. “Marc Fogel has devoted his life to educating college students all over the world, from Pittsburgh to Oman to Venezuela to Moscow,” Casey mentioned in a press release. “After almost three years of captivity, Marc’s well being is quickly declining and his life is at risk. I urge President Biden and his administration to do every part attainable to carry Marc residence.”

The Senate decision’s cosponsors embrace Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. John Fetterman, Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Thomas Tillis, and Sen. Christopher Coons, every of which additionally offered a press assertion about Fogel’s scenario. “Marc Fogel’s imprisonment is unjust and unacceptable, and it has continued for much too lengthy,” Tester said. “I’m glad to see our bipartisan decision demanding his launch go the Senate, and I’ll proceed pushing the Administration and utilizing each device at my disposal to safe his return and guarantee this harmless American is lastly reunited along with his family members.”

Fetterman additionally defined the need of specializing in bringing Fogel residence. “The passage of this decision sends a really clear message: it’s time to carry Marc Fogel residence,” Fetterman mentioned. “Anybody who is aware of Marc—his household, pals, and college students—will let you know about his infectious positivity and the numerous lives he has modified in his 35 years of educating. Marc and his household need to see one another once more. We’ve seen the unimaginable work of the Biden Administration in bringing Brittney Griner and Trevor Reed residence. Now let’s carry Marc residence.”

Olympic athlete and WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia for having hashish oil in her baggage in February 2022. By August, a Russian court docket decided her responsible of violating the nation’s legislation on hashish and was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony. Griner was ultimately launched in December 2022 in change for Russian arms vendor Viktor Bout. Now Griner is working with ESPN and Disney to produce a documentary about her expertise. 

Trevor Reed allegedly assaulted two Russian law enforcement officials in 2019, and was imprisoned in 2020 with a nine-year jail sentence. In April 2022, he was launched in change for Russian pilot and drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko.

Whereas Russia has sentenced many U.S. residents to jail, the variety of hashish prisoners within the U.S. nonetheless stays an issue. Final October, the advocacy group Final Prisoner Venture highlighted the present standing of hashish prisoners in its “State of Hashish Justice Report.” “As we mark the primary anniversary of President Biden’s hashish proclamation, Final Prisoner Venture reaffirms its dedication to the pursuit of justice, fairness, and compassion,” the announcement acknowledged. “We stay dedicated to dismantling the dangerous legacy of the Conflict on Medicine and making certain that these affected by hashish prohibition aren’t forgotten.”



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