Family of 'Forgotten American' Pushes to Free Him From Russian Prison Like Brittney Griner
Marc Fogel, 61, was sentenced to 14 years hard labor last month after being arrested for having medical marijuana just like WNBA star Brittney Griner, but he has not been mentioned publicly in the proposed prisoner swap.
A beloved teacher languishing in a Russian gulag is being called “The Forgotten American.”
Marc Fogel, 61, was sentenced to 14 years hard labor last month after being arrested last month for having medical marijuana just like WNBA star Brittney Griner, but he has not been mentioned publicly in the proposed prisoner swap that could free the basketball player and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
Secretary Of State Antony Blinken didn't even mention Fogel's name when he spoke about efforts to free the others this week.
The State Department has listed Griner and Whelan as “wrongly detained,” in effect, hostages. News from Moscow recently is that Russia’s foreign minister is willing to step up negotiations for a prisoner swap, but Fogel's family is demanding to know why the American government is seemingly ignoring his case.
His niece spoke to WTAE in Pittsburgh and said, “I want people to know what a good man Marc is and how deserving he is to come home.”
“My family and I strongly believe that Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan also deserve to come home and we would just really like to have Marc also put in that category,” she added.
Fogel is also frustrated and wrote in a letter home about a potential swap saying, “That hurt. Teachers are at least as important as bballers.”
Fogel is a former diplomat who worked as a teacher in the prestigious Anglo American school in Moscow. Surveillance video shows the moment authorities discovered medical marijuana in his baggage at the airport after a trip home nearly a year ago on August 14, 2021.
Russian prosecutors claimed he is a dealer but only a small amount of marijuana was found.
“He was in possession of less than one ounce of medical marijuana that his doctor had recommended to him for debilitating back, spinal pain,” his niece told WTAE. “His 14-year sentence is unbelievably harsh.”
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