Reschenthaler Leads Effort to Bring Russian Detainee Marc Fogel Home

Government and Politics

August 4, 2022

Reschenthaler Leads Effort to Bring Russian Detainee Marc Fogel Home

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative?Guy Reschenthaler?(PA-14)?led a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the State Department to include Marc Fogel, a southwestern Pennsylvania resident, in any negotiations to bring Americans imprisoned in Russia home.

“Although he may not carry the notoriety of a celebrity WNBA athlete, we believe it is essential the Biden Administration work to bring Mr. Fogel safely home to his family. Brittney Griner’s wife received a call from President Joe Biden, but the family of Mr. Fogel has struggled to even receive a response from the State Department,” the lawmakers wrote.

“As members of Congress representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we strongly urge the State Department to immediately classify Mr. Fogel as wrongfully detained and ensure he is included in any negotiations to bring home American prisoners in Russia,” the lawmakers continued.

Mr. Fogel taught history at schools attended by children of U.S. diplomats in Columbia, Venezuela, Oman, Malaysia, and, for the last 10 years, in Russia. Last August, he was detained at the Sheremetyevo Airport with a small amount of medical marijuana prescribed for his severe back injuries – a similar charge to that of Brittney Griner. In June, he was sentenced to 14 years of hard labor in a Russian prison, a sentence usually reserved for large-scale drug smugglers and murderers. 

The letter was also signed by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Reps. Brendan F. Boyle, Mike Doyle, Dwight Evans, Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, Conor Lamb, Dan Meuser, Glenn “GT” Thompson, and Susan Wild. 

The full text of the letter can be read here