July 16 (UPI) -- Russian officials transferred former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed to a penal colony in Mordovia, a human rights watchdog said Friday.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Reed has been sent to a region about 200 miles east of Moscow known historically for being the site of some of Russia's most brutal prisons.
Aleksei Melnikov, executive secretary of the Public Monitoring Commission, confirmed Reed's transfer to RFE and ABC News.
Reed, 30, was sentenced last year to nine years in prison after being convicted of assaulting police officers while drunk in 2019.
Reed, who was a University of North Texas student, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and told reporters the case was "clearly political." He said he became inebriated while attending a party for his girlfriend's colleagues and doesn't remember the incident with police.
The families of Reed and Paul Whelan, another American in prison in Russia, said officials fabricated charges against the two men in order to detain them and use them as bargaining chips with the U.S. government.