Pennsylvania teacher still illegally behind bars in Russia

18 April 2024- The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted in favor of U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s (D-PA) bipartisan concurrent resolution calling for the immediate release of Marc Fogel from Russian detention.

Fogel is a United States citizen and teacher who has been subject to an unjust and disproportionate criminal sentence by the Russian government since August 2021. Fogel was detained in the Sheremetyevo Airport for carrying about half an ounce of medical marijuana which was prescribed to him by his doctor in Pennsylvania to treat severe medical conditions.

The resolution, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration, urges the Biden Administration to prioritize securing the release of Mr. Fogel—a Butler County native and Allegheny County resident—and all other U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are wrongfully detained by Russia, including Paul Whelan, Evan Gershkovich, Ksenia Khavana, Alsu Kurmasheva, and Vladimir Kara-Murza.

“This resolution sends a clear, bipartisan message to Vladimir Putin and dictators like him that the United States won’t stand for the imprisonment of Americans like Marc Fogel,” said Senator Casey. “Marc is a loving father and schoolteacher who’s devoted his life to educating students around the world. The United States must do everything possible to bring Marc home and show our enemies that Americans aren’t to be used in their political games.” 

In August 2022, Casey led a bipartisan coalition of his colleagues in a letter  to Secretary Blinken urging the State Department to designate Fogel as “wrongfully detained,” so that his case would get the appropriate attention from U.S. officials. He followed up in October 2022 urging immediate action by the State Department. Senator Casey has helped the Fogel family set up meetings with other Congressional offices and Administration officials to help bring attention to Mr. Fogel’s case and garner support to bring him home.