NewsAmerican sergeant sentenced for theft in Russian court

American sergeant sentenced for theft in Russian court

Sergeant Gordon Black, an American soldier, sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in a penal colony in Russia
Sergeant Gordon Black, an American soldier, sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in a penal colony in Russia
Images source: © East News | AP

8:48 AM EDT, June 19, 2024

Sergeant Gordon Black, arrested in Russia for theft and threatening murder, heard his verdict on Wednesday. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in a penal colony. The man admitted to the theft but maintained throughout the trial in Vladivostok that he did not threaten anyone.

The American sergeant in the U.S. Army allegedly ran afoul of Russian law in April when he visited his girlfriend. He met the Russian woman in South Korea, where his unit is stationed.

According to CNN, the soldier traveled to visit his Russian acquaintance without permission from the U.S. Department of Defense to travel to Russia. Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith mentioned that he did not request permission to leave his unit.

According to the Russian agency TASS, Black allegedly stole 10,000 rubles (approximately $112) from his girlfriend. He also reportedly attacked the Russian woman during an argument.

Sergeant Black will not be the only American caught in the gears of the Russian justice system. Amid the conflict between Washington and Moscow, it is difficult to determine whether the U.S. military man is genuinely guilty of the alleged charges, regardless of whether he admits to them or not.

In Russia, many American citizens are being held, according to the U.S. State Department, unlawfully. This includes reporter for "The Wall Street Journal," Evan Gershkovich, and former Marine Paul Whelan.

The Vladivostok court issued a verdict

Before Black heard the verdict from the Russian court on Wednesday, he explained during the trial that the theft was not a classic taking of property. Indeed, he took those 10,000 rubles from his girlfriend's purse because he needed money for food and a hotel.

However, he allegedly returned $125 the next day, which was more than he had taken earlier. He also explained that he had paid a deposit of 10,000 rubles for an apartment and that the money was supposed to go to his acquaintance at some point.

The victim, who also testified in court on Monday, said she is not yet ready to reconcile with the suspect.

According to TASS, Black has appealed the verdict issued by the court in Vladivostok. The U.S. government has repeatedly warned its citizens against traveling to Russia.

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