It is quite a shred of disheartening news that the detainees from America are quite living an excruciating life behind the bars in Russia as they are convicted of petite crimes. Albeit the negotiations for the prisoner swap, the Russians have decided not to acquit Marc Fogel from the charges. So let us have a walkthrough about this seldom predicament of the American teacher Marc Fogel, detained in a Russian prison.
Who Is Marc Fogel?
Marc Fogel was an American international baccalaureate history teacher who hails from Pennsylvania and US Marine Paul Whelan who is been detained as a prisoner in Russia for carrying prescribed marijuana in his luggage.
According to the stringent rules in Russia, possessing drugs whether prescribed or not is strictly against the law and those who carry the drugs will be detained and sentenced to imprisonment. So Marc Fogel who was a teacher carried marijuana and he is sentenced to fourteen years of labor in one of the Russian Penal colonies.
So when we have a look into the most historic prisoner swap deal executed between the most forceful country Russia and powerful America for the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner who is detained in the Russian prison in exchange for Viktor Bout who is one of the arms dealers who is detained in the US prison, people vehemently called out the name of Marc Fogel who is wrongfully detained in the Russian prison.
So during the vociferous negotiations of the prisoner swap, the poor Marc Fogel, the US Marine Paul Whelan was addressed as a ‘wrongfully detained’ person who needs help to come back to his home country. But unfortunately, Marc Fogel’s name was not even mentioned by the authorities during this historic prisoner swap proposal.
So when they negotiated for Britteny Griner’s release Kelly Leguineche who is the niece of Marc Fogel came up with her words that the respective authorities did not even care to address her uncle as a ‘wrongfully detained American citizen that is held in Russia.
She told that “it is devastating because it feels like this was our last opportunity to save his life, and we just couldn’t get the momentum we needed for it to matter to them. No one in the family or anyone that we have spoken to who is knowledgable about the conditions of the penal colony thinks that he will survive anything close to this term”.
So as per sources, Marc Fogel and his wife Jane spent most of their life in Russia and worked as a teacher in a diplomatic school that was a part of the American, British, and Canadian Embassies. So living a good life the Fogel family decided to take another year in Russia and they arrived at an airport in Russia, things turned pretty nasty, a shock.
His sister Anne Fogel also said about the repugnant predicament their family had to bear. Anne Fogel frustratedly said that
“ He loves Russia, and they loved it. He’s taught diplomatic children from all over the world for thirty-six years, close to that. Apparently, there had been an informant. And the informant had tipped them off at the airport security that he would be coming through”.
The attorney who represented Marc Fogel said that “ We immediately jumped into studying cases. In researching this, we found cases of large-scale drug leaders of drug trafficking organizations who got lower sentences than Marc did. We found a case, not only one case, somebody got ten years for murder. And Marc got fourteen years”.
From these statements, it is quite evident that Marc Fogel who was an unimpeachable teacher is absolutely wrongfully detained in Russia just because he carried a prescribed amount of marijuana below twenty grams for the chronic pain that he suffers from a back injury.
What Did Marc Fogel Do?
So when Marc Fogel was caught by the Russian police, he beseech to let him go as he is not guilty because he was not a drug dealer or something intimidating person, whereas a delicate history teacher who happened to like Russia and lived for quite some time.
But even though, marijuana was prescribed for acute pain, Russian law considers this action as unapologetic and no exception in evading the ramifications that come. Because in Russia it doesn’t matter if it is prescribed or not it is absolutely illegal and so Marc Fogel had to be arrested for that.
The disheartening situation happened on August 14, 2021, at Moscow airport when the then-sixty-year-old teacher Marc Fogel was caught by the Russian police and found with approximately seventeen grams of cannabis. Poor Marc Fogel was traveling with his wife in order to work in a private school in Moscow.
When everything happened so fast beyond their comprehension, the innocent Marc Fogel said to them that the substance is prescribed by a doctor and he cannot avoid this because he is suffering from severe spinal pain. But despite all the facts, he was detained in a prison, and on June 16, 2022, the court sentenced him for long fourteen years.
Moreover, Marc Fogel was deprived of the basic right of a prisoner in Russia. Marc Fogel has not received any consuls since November 2021 and he was strictly not allowed to contact his family via phone. The more disheartening news is since he has acute back pain, he was given injections without appropriate medical evaluation.
So the medicines that were injected into him are best known for side effects including, chest pain, abdominal pain, and vomiting. So it is quite mind-writhing news that he had to go through all this when he has not committed the crime in the first place. His family and the attorneys are trying their best to get Marc from the Russian prison before it’s too late.
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