Skip to comments.Feds need to work harder to get Pa. teacher out of Russian jail, urge Casey, Toomey, other senators: reports
Posted on 08/24/2022 8:02:04 AM PDT by lightman
Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, along with seven other senators, are urging the U.S. State Department to designate a Pennsylvania teacher sentenced to 14 years in a Russian prison as “wrongfully detained,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and KDKA.
The classification would reportedly allow the government to undertake active diplomatic efforts to secure the man’s release.
Mark Hilliard Fogel, 61, of Oakmont, has been detained in Russia for about a year now, after being arrested at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow in August for possession of about 20 grams of medical marijuana. He was sentenced in June to 14 years in a high security penal colony.
“Mr. Fogel’s recent 14-year sentence to a maximum-security penal colony for possession of less than an ounce of medical marijuana can only be understood as a political ploy by Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime,” a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “The United States cannot stand by as Mr. Fogel wastes away in a Russian hard labor camp.”
Other lawmakers who signed the letter include Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; John Hickenlooper, D-Colo.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; and Tim Kaine, D-Va.
“Mr. Fogel’s medical conditions will very likely worsen in such circumstances,” the lawmakers wrote, highlighting Fogel’s chronic pain and limp from several surgeries, arguing that his sentence is “grossly disproportionate” to similar cases.
Fogel was heading back to the Anglo-American School in Moscow, where he had taught high school history for almost a decade when he was arrested.
A State Department spokesperson told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that in general officials “do not comment on Congressional correspondence.”
“We take seriously our commitment to assist U.S. citizens abroad and are monitoring the situation,” the spokesperson said. “We continue to urge the Russian government to allow consistent, timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia, in line with its legal obligations and allow us to provide consular services for U.S. citizens detained in Russia.”
The letter to the State Department comes just over two weeks after members of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation and Toomey co-signed a letter to Blinken regarding Fogel’s case.
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Did that add an additional 5 years to her sentence.
BTW does she have children that need her at home?
Did they add..that is
Teaching in Moscow for 10+ years he knows the consequences of drug possession in Russia. I am surprised he is able to obtain the stuff living there.
In the USA we are having an epidemic of drug deaths. I wonder if Russia is experiencing the same.
Considering the way Russia is viewed by those running our government, it’s hard to see why any Russian would even bother to answer the phone, much less lift a finger for this druggie.
Now the ones I would be interested in helping are the Jan 6ers in the Washington,D.C. jail. But Casey, Toomey and other Senators don't give a dam about helping them. So Casey, Toomey, and other Senators can eff themselves.
Tough schiff. So called educated teachers should know better. Maybe an investigation into broader Russian collusion between unionized teachers and America is needed.
That is what we need here, one more druggie.
The pertinent question is, can he play basketball?
Isn’t “medical marijuana” not recognized by Russia?
Fogel did the crime and needs to serve the time. Just like Griner. We should not be spending time and resources trying to get guilty drug users out of foreign prisons.
Nope. Straight white male. Biden has done nothing to get him out but may be forced to at least try if there is a Griner exchange.
Our current regime does not have any moral high ground on holding political prisoners.
Come on man.
If you’re not going to trade Griner for your arms dealer and spy, at least commute the sentence to a year.
14 grams. Isn’t that 14 lids? You can’t fix stupid.
This so-called “American citizen” was living and teaching in Russia for 10 years. What the hell was he thinking taking contraband into the country? But still 14 years prison sentence is way over the top. Who would want to ever live in Russia?
“...arrested at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow in August for possession of about 20 grams of medical marijuana...”
So, rightfully detained then. Screw ‘em.
“In the USA we are having an epidemic of drug deaths. I wonder if Russia is experiencing the same.”
In Russia they just drink themselves to death in mass.
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