An ex-Airborne American musician has been arrested on drug trafficking charges in Moscow, Russia and paraded on state television in a cage, but people have their doubts.
Reuters report Musician and rock band manager Michael Travis Leake, 51, was arrested on June 6, after Russian authorities said he was selling drugs. Leak is suspected of selling a drug called mephedrone, which is often said to be between the effects of cocaine and MDMA. Russia Bans Mephedrone But suspicions are mounting after Leek spoke out on television about censorship and repression in Russia.
Russia’s state-run Russian-language news channel Russia 24 showed him standing in a courtroom cage. Russian tabloid network Ren TV showed Mr. Leek being detained in Moscow on June 6, lying on the floor in underwear and a T-shirt, with his hands tied behind his back.
Reek denies involvement: ‘I don’t understand why you’re here,’ says Reek’s statement to police, Ren TV report. I don’t admit guilt, and I don’t know what I’m being accused of, so I don’t think I could have done what I was accused of. ”
Russian authorities On a daily basis accuse journalists of being spies. wall street journal For example, journalist Evan Gershkovich, an American citizen, Arrested in March last year on suspicion of being a spy.
“On June 10, 2023, the Khamovniki District Court in Moscow took detention measures against US citizens,” said the Moscow Court of General Jurisdiction. said on telegram. “The former paratrooper and musician, who is accused of running a drug-dealing business involving young people, will be detained until August 6, 2023,” a Russian court statement named after him. “Travis Michael Leake” was misspelled.
U.S. officials confirmed Mr. Leek’s detention on Saturday.
“I can confirm that Michael Travis Leake has been arrested and is in custody in Moscow. Embassy officials attended his arraignment on June 10,” said a U.S. State Department spokesperson. Said CNN. “We will continue to monitor this incident closely.”
Who is Michael Travis Leake?
As an episode of parts unknown CNN reported that the late host (and cannabis fan) Anthony Bourdain personally chose Leake for the show. Leak and others shot in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia in 2014.
Leak complained about censorship in Russia and recalled an incident involving his band and MTV.
“This was a documentary series about musicians who, in some cases, risked their lives to stand up against government abuse and government corruption,” Leak said. parts unknown. “Nevertheless, foreign governments have been able to editorially control what American viewers see on television screens. To me it’s a grand scandal.”
It was apparently one of Bourdain’s favorite interviews.
Reek will remain in custody until August 6. Reek’s mother, Glenda Garcia Said CNN reported on her growing concerns, including the idea that her son could be used more or less as a political pawn.
Leak was previously a songwriter and musician in the Russian-based rock band Lovi Noch (Russian for “Catch the Night”).
Trends in American Arrests in Russia
In the midst of the Ukraine war, tensions between the United States and Russia are high, which is not good for Americans who bring drugs into the country.
Last December, US basketball player Britney Griner was released after President Biden and authorities negotiated a prisoner exchange. Griner was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony for possessing an e-cigarette cartridge containing weed oil.
In a controversial move, the US agreed to trade Griner for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US.
But U.S. officials have accused Russia of using men like Greiner and others as political pawns.
Former US Marine Paul Whelan is serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of “espionage”.
Let’s not forget lesser-known Americans either. Mark Vogel, 61, was arrested last year in Russia after authorities discovered him in possession of medical marijuana.
Russian news agency Interfax reported that Leek could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.