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US soldier held in Russia loses appeal for release: report

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May 24, 2024

The American soldier being detained in Russia on theft charges has lost an appeal Friday for his release, a report says. 

A court in the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok has decided to keep Staff Sgt. Gordon Black in custody, Reuters reported, citing Interfax.

Interfax said the 34-year-old Black appeared in court by video from a pre-trial detention center and he was pushing to have the arrest overturned. He reportedly said through an interpreter that he would remain in Russia during the trial if he was released.

But prosecutors objected, arguing that Black could flee the country and the court ultimately sided with them, Reuters reports. 

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Black, who enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in 2008 and was assigned to the Eighth Army U.S. Forces Korea at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, has been charged with criminal misconduct and is accused of stealing from his girlfriend.  

He traveled to Vladivostok, Russia, “for personal reasons” prior to his arrest on May 2, the Pentagon says.   

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The Pervomaisky District Court of Vladivostok previously said Black will be detained until July 2 for “secretly stealing the property of citizen T., causing the latter significant damage.” Russian officials in Vladivostok said a 32-year-old woman had filed a complaint against Black.

Reuters cited the officials as saying that the pair met in South Korea before Black came to visit her in Russia, during which they became involved in an argument. She then reportedly filed a police report accusing him of stealing money and Black was taken into custody at a hotel.  

Black’s mother, Melody Jones, has told Fox News that her son’s Russian girlfriend asked her for money shortly before her son was arrested on theft charges.  

Fox News’ Bailee Hill, Louis Casiano, Greg Wehner and Pilar Arias contributed to this report. 

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