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

Previous U.S. Embassy diplomat Marc Fogel was just lately sentenced to 14 several years in prison for cannabis trafficking. Aside from his purpose at the U.S. Embassy, Fogel was performing as an English teacher at the Anglo-American School in Moscow, Russia. On August 15, 2021, he was caught in possession of 17 grams (or .6 ounces) of hashish in his luggage at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. He experienced diplomatic immunity until May well 2021.

According to a the latest Moscow court docket ruling, “The American citizen Fogel has been observed guilty” since of “large-scale medication smuggling, large-scale illegal storage of medicine devoid of a business reason.”

Fogel mentioned that a medical doctor had recommended professional medical hashish to him in the U.S. to deal with pain that followed soon after he experienced spinal surgery. “He insists that it was medical marijuana and promises that a health care provider recommended it to him in the United States, which is allegedly verified by an entry in the health-related file,” mentioned Moscow human rights committee member Alexander Khurudzhi. Furthermore, Fogel argued that he did not know that healthcare cannabis was illegal.

A Russian information agency referred to as Interfax described that Fogel has plead guilty to these prices: “On June 16, 2022, the Khimki Metropolis Court of the Moscow region found U.S. citizen Marc Fogel responsible of committing crimes under Component 3 of Post 229.1 (drug smuggling), Part 2 of Post 228 (unlawful acquisition, possession, transportation, manufacture, and processing of narcotic prescription drugs) of the Russian Criminal Code, and sentenced him to 14 years’ imprisonment to be served in a large-security penal colony,” Interfax wrote.

This ruling happened in the exact jurisdiction that is discussing the detainment of WNBA athlete Brittney Griner, who was arrested for possession of vape cartridges in February. Most not long ago, Lebron James known as out for help. “We have to have to occur together and assist do regardless of what we probably can to deliver BG house rapidly and properly!! Our voice as athletes is stronger jointly,” James claimed on Twitter, in partnership with a help campaign called “We Are BG” from Uninterrupted.

“For more than 100 times, BG has confronted inhumane circumstances in a Russian prison and has been denied communications with her family and cherished kinds,” Uninterrupted wrote and shared on social media. “As a adorned Olympian and member of an elite international sport group, BG’s detention will have to be solved out of respect for the sanctity of all activity and for all Us residents touring internationally. It is vital that the U.S. Federal government instantly tackle this human rights situation and do what ever is necessary to return Brittney property.”

In accordance to TMZ, famous Boxer Roy Jones Jr. (who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Russia) is at present aiding with acquiring Griner launched. Nevertheless, most latest coverage studies that Griner’s detention will last until eventually at least July 7.

In Russia, each grownup-use and health-related cannabis is illegal. This isn’t the initial time that cannabis has gotten international site visitors to Russia in warm drinking water. In 2019, a 26-yr-outdated lady touring from India to Israel was located in possession of nine grams of cannabis—to which she been given about 7 months of time in prison for drug trafficking (although she was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2020). Likewise, a 19-yr-old movie scholar traveled to Russia with 19 grams of healthcare cannabis and expended a thirty day period in prison, and remaining with a 15,000 rubles good ($230 in U.S. pounds).

In the case of Griner, U.S. Cannabis Council CEO Steven Hawkins told AZcentral.com that hashish possession is routinely used as a way to convict focused men and women. “In this circumstance, Russian authorities seem to be using alleged hashish possession as a pretext for holding a distinguished American as leverage. Brittney Griner should not be employed as a pawn by Russia. We urge the U.S. govt to use all available channels to protected her fast return residence.”