(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Pittsburgh-area residents remain in Russian custody as WNBA star Britney Griner is released.
Griner’s high-profile arrest and subsequent release brought public attention to the topic of Americans being detained in Russia. At least three Americans have been detained in Russia. Including former US Marines Paul Whelan, Mark Vogel and Sarah Krivanek.
Earlier this year, former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed was also released in a prisoner exchange with Russia.
Whelan, a corporate security officer, traveled to Moscow in December 2018 for a wedding and was detained by Russian authorities on suspicion of espionage.
In 2020, a former Marine was sentenced to 16 years in prison in what the US called a sham trial. was criticized as a forgery.
The State Department said last week that he had been transferred to a prison hospital for several weeks, but was then returned to the penal colony where he is serving his sentence.
A senior government official said Thursday that he believed Russia was holding Whelan’s release to a higher standard than Griner’s due to espionage charges.
Krivanek, 46, moved to Russia five years ago from Fresno, California, and taught in a private Russian school.
Last year, Krivanek was involved in a domestic violence situation with her boyfriend, grabbing a knife to defend herself and allegedly slightly injuring him.
Krivanek was arrested by Russian authorities and held in custody for about a year, even though her boyfriend withdrew the charges.
She was released last month but was detained again at a Moscow airport as she tried to leave the country. According to People magazine.
Krivanek is not imprisoned, but he is also not allowed to return home. She waits at the holding facility as she ponders how to leave Russia.
Vogel, a history teacher from Pittsburgh who has taught children of US diplomats in Colombia, Venezuela, Oman, Malaysia and Russia, was detained in Moscow in August 2021.
He was detained at Sheremetyevo airport with a small amount of medical marijuana prescribed for chronic back pain.
In June 2022, he was sentenced to 14 years of hard labor in a Russian prison.
US Congressman Mike Kelley discussed Griner’s release and efforts to bring Pennsylvania native Mark Vogel home.
“I am delighted to hear the news that Britney Griner was released this morning and will return to the United States. I urge the Administration to include Mr. Vogel in future negotiations and again call on the State Department to further designate Mr. Vogel as “wrongfully detained.” He has served 14 years in prison for possession of 17 grams (just over half an ounce) of medical marijuana. Even under the current laws in Russia it sucks.
“Today is a great day for the Griner family. We hope to see the Vogel family have a similar reunion soon. To the Vogel family: We are not giving up on bringing Mark home.”
U.S. Congressman Mike Kelley (R-PA)
According to Rep. Kerry’s office, in November 2022, Rep. Kerry, Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) will: resolution He asked the State Department to declare Mr. Vogel “wrongfully detained.”
Earlier in August, Rep. Reschenthaler sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Brinken, immediately designating Mr. Vogel as “wrongfully detained,” and declaring that every effort should be made to repatriate Americans imprisoned in Russia. asked the State Department to include him in negotiations.
The federal government has not designated Vogel as unjustly detained at this time.
https://www.wkbn.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-man-remains-in-russian-custody/ Pennsylvania man in Russian custody