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Marc Fogel, a Pennsylvania resident, was given a disproportionate 14-year sentence in Russia despite low-level offense

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and U.S. Congressman Chris Deluzio (D-PA-17) introduced a bipartisan concurrent resolution calling for the immediate release of Marc Fogel. Fogel is a U.S. citizen and career educator who has been imprisoned by Russia since August 2021 for carrying about half an ounce of medical marijuana, which was legally prescribed to him in Pennsylvania to treat severe medical conditions. The resolution 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. U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and John Fetterman (D-PA) co-sponsored the resolution in the Senate.

“Marc Fogel has devoted his life to educating students around the world, from Pittsburgh to Oman to Venezuela to Moscow. Because of what can only be understood as a political ploy by Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime, he was unjustly sentenced to 14 years in a Russian maximum-security penal colony,” Senator Casey said. “Marc is a loving father and dedicated teacher whose life is in danger. I urge President Biden and his administration to do everything possible to bring Marc home.”

“We cannot sit by while Putin’s Russia plays political games with the lives of Americans like my Western Pennsylvania constituent Marc Fogel,” Rep. Deluzio said. “Marc faces unjust and disproportionate charges for possession of his legally prescribed medical marijuana. Further, I am concerned that he is living in abysmal and harsh conditions that could threaten his health. We have got to bring Marc home. I am proud to join with Senator Casey and my colleagues to introduce this resolution to both amplify Marc’s story and grow support on Capitol Hill for his safe and speedy release.”

“Marc Fogel has spent years as a teacher shaping the next generation of leaders and this week is his 62nd birthday, but instead of celebrating with his friends and family, Marc will be spending it unjustly detained in a Russian labor camp,” Senator Daines said. “I've worked closely with Marc's family, former Ambassador McFaul and my colleagues in the Senate to urge the Biden administration to do everything they can to bring him home safely and I won't stop until he is released.”

“Marc Fogel has been unjustly imprisoned in Russia for too long, and I continue to call on the Administration to secure his return,” Senator Tester said. “I recently met with Marc's family and I pledged to keep pushing to bring him home. I won’t rest until this innocent American is reunited with his loved ones.”  

“I am proud to support this resolution calling for Marc Fogel’s release,” Senator Fetterman said. “Let’s be clear: Marc is a schoolteacher who has been turned into a political pawn by Putin. No one deserves that. We’ve got to do everything we can to bring Marc home, and it starts here.”

Senator Casey has been pushing the Biden Administration to prioritize Marc Fogel’s case over the course of the last year. In August, he sent a letter to Secretary Blinken urging the State Department to designate Mr. Fogel as “wrongfully detained,” so his case can get the appropriate attention from U.S. officials. Senator Casey followed up in October 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.