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Russian Court Sentences U.S. Soldier To Jail

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A U.S. soldier detained in Russia in early May has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison by a court in Vladivostok for theft and death threats.

According to local media reports on Wednesday, the court found that the man had stolen 10,000 rubles (120 U.S. dollars) from his girlfriend and threatened her.

The defence had demanded an acquittal.

The court’s sentence fell short of the four years and eight months in prison sought by the prosecution.

The U.S. soldier had been detained in Pacific port city of Vladivostok.

According to the U.S. Army, the soldier had completed his service in South Korea on April 10.

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Instead of returning to the mainland United States, he travelled to Vladivostok via China “for personal reasons.”

The soldier had not sought official permission for his trip from the Department of Defense, the U.S. authorities said.

He had joined the army in 2008 and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Local media reported that the man had wanted to visit a woman in Russia with whom he allegedly had a romantic relationship.

During an argument, he reportedly grabbed his girlfriend by the throat, which she perceived as life-threatening.

He also stole money from her, the report said.

The detention of U.S. citizens in Russia often leads to complicated negotiations between Moscow and Washington over a release or exchange.

According to the Kremlin, negotiations are ongoing regarding the detained Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich.

His trial is set to begin on June 26 behind closed doors.

Since late 2018, former U.S. soldier Paul Whelan has also been held in Russian custody after being convicted of espionage.

Sourcedpa/NAN

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