Hearing begins for U.S. soldier detained in Russia | WORLD
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Hearing begins for U.S. soldier detained in Russia

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Black escorted into a glass cage in a Russian courtroom Associated Press/Photo Uncredited

Hearing begins for U.S. soldier detained in Russia

Army Staff Sgt. Gordon C. Black appeared in a Russian courtroom near its border with North Korea on Monday. The hearing is his second following his May 2 arrest on suspicion of theft, according to a report by a local news website. Black stands accused of stealing 10,000 rubles, about $113, from a Russian woman. Alexandra Vashchuk reportedly accused him of assault and intent to kill. Vashchuk said they had a relationship, and she first met Black while he served in South Korea. Black testified at the Monday hearing and partially admitted guilt to theft charges while denying other accusations.

What have U.S. officials said of the arrest and hearings? Black was not authorized to travel to Russia as a military member under the Department of Defense’s foreign clearance guide, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in May. He left South Korea for Texas after a permanent change of station, but he then flew to the southeast Russian region of Vladivostok for personal reasons, she added.

Vashchuk has previously said she doesn’t want Black to be incarcerated, only to get help for his mental health, according to local Russian reports. His next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 19.

Dig deeper: Read Josh Schumacher’s report in The Sift on Black’s arrest in early May.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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