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Senate resolution on Marc Fogel a good sign

Caption: Marc Fogel 10/11/2022

On Wednesday, June 5, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of Marc Fogel, the Butler native who has been held in a Russian prison for nearly three years.

The resolution, introduced by Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, along with multiple others, urges President Joe Biden to do everything possible to bring Fogel home. Fogel, a longtime teacher, was arrested in Russia in August 2021 when authorities found medical marijuana on Fogel, which had been prescribed for chronic back pain.

He was convicted of drug trafficking and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at a prison colony outside of Moscow.

Fogel’s case is heartbreaking, in part because so little public notice has been taken. WNBA player Brittany Griner was arrested on similar charges several months after Fogel, but she was released as part of a prisoner swap.

Two other Americans detained in Russia, former Marine Paul Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, also have had far more attention.

The resolution, which also was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th, and others, highlights the injustice Fogel is facing. It points out he and other Americans have been given disproportionate and unjustifiable sentences for political reasons and calls on Russia to respect Fogel’s human rights, along with the human rights of other Americans.

It also urges the Biden administration to work to secure Fogel’s immediate release.

The resolution’s passage by the Senate is a good sign. We hope the House takes up the resolution soon and that the Biden administration takes up the cause of Fogel’s release.

— JK

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