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American Man Jailed in Russia Faces New Charges

Robert Gilman. Yelena Ruzanova / TASS

A U.S. citizen jailed in Russia for kicking a police officer two years ago appeared in court on Thursday to face new charges of allegedly punching prison guards and an investigator, Russian media reported.

Robert Gilman, 30, was found guilty of attacking a policeman while drunk in the western city of Voronezh in 2022 and sentenced to four and a half years in jail, which was later reduced to three and a half years following an appeal.

While jailed for that conviction, Gilman allegedly punched prison staff "in the head" on two separate occasions, once during an inspection of his cell in September 2023 and again in October, according to prosecutors cited by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Days later he attacked a criminal investigator and, after being moved to a pre-trial detention center, struck another prison guard during a search, the agency reported.

According to the Voronezh Central District Court, Gilman faces four new charges, including three counts of physical violence against a prison employee and one count of physical violence against a justice official.

He pleaded guilty to the assault charges at Thursday's hearing, but alleged that he had been poisoned with "radioactive material" while in jail and feared for his life, the Kommersant business newspaper reported.

Gilman could be seen wearing a baseball cap and hoodie as he sat inside a defendant's cage in court, his face expressionless.

The rest of the hearing was postponed until July 15, after the court requested information about Gilman's health and access to medical care, Kommersant added.

Several U.S. citizens are currently being held in Russia, including journalists Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva, ex-Marine Paul Whelan, ballerina Ksenia Karelina and army soldier Gordon Black.

Washington has accused Moscow of arresting its citizens on baseless charges to use them as bargaining chips to secure the release of Russians convicted abroad.

Both countries have said they are open to prisoner swaps, but there have not been any major exchanges since American basketball player Brittney Griner was traded with arms dealer Viktor Bout in December 2022.

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