LONDON (Reuters) -American Robert Woodland was found guilty of drug trafficking by a Russian court on Thursday. Here are some details about him and other Americans convicted or facing trial in Russia.


A U.S. citizen adopted from Russia as a child, Woodland was detained in January on drug possession charges. A Facebook account in his name indicated he had been working as an English teacher and lived outside Moscow. On Thursday he was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years and six months.


A Wall Street Journal reporter accredited by Russia to work in the country, Gershkovich was arrested in March 2023 in the city of Yekaterinburg on spying charges that carry up to 20 years in prison. The FSB security service says he was collecting secret information about a company that makes battle tanks.

Gershkovich and his newspaper reject the charges and the U.S. government says he was wrongfully detained and is being used by Moscow as a bargaining chip. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is open to discussing a prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich and that there have been contacts with Washington, but the Kremlin says they must take place in secret.

Gershkovich, 32, went on trial behind closed doors on June 26, with the next session to be held on Aug. 13.


A former U.S. marine holding U.S., British, Irish and Canadian citizenship, Whelan was arrested in 2018 and subsequently handed a 16-year sentence for espionage. He denied the charges.

At the time of his arrest, Whelan was head of global security for a Michigan-based car parts supplier. Russian investigators said he was a spy for military intelligence and had been caught red-handed with a computer flash drive containing classified information.

Whelan, 54, did not figure in a U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange in December 2022 involving U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner. Griner was traded for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout. The U.S. has designated Whelan, like Gershkovich, as wrongfully detained.


A dual Russian-American citizen, Kurmasheva is a 47-year-old Prague-based reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a U.S. government-funded media outlet designated by Russia as a foreign agent.

She was arrested in the Russian city of Kazan in October 2023 while visiting her mother. Authorities initially charged her with failing to register as a foreign agent, but later also charged her with spreading “fakes” about the Russian army, which risks up to 15 years in jail.

Kurmasheva’s husband has petitioned the U.S. to designate her as wrongfully detained.


An active duty U.S. staff sergeant based in South Korea, Black was detained on May 2 in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East on suspicion of stealing 10,000 roubles ($113) from his Russian girlfriend. He was subsequently charged with threatening to kill her by grabbing her by the neck during a quarrel. He denied the charge. On June 19, a court found him guilty on both counts and sentenced him to three years and nine months in a penal colony.

The Pentagon said Black had broken army rules by travelling to Russia without authorisation, having passed through China.


A former U.S. Marine, Gilman was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison in October 2022 for attacking a police officer on a train while drunk. Gilman, who his lawyers said had come to Russia to study, told the court he did not remember the incident but had “apologised to Russia” and to the officer. On June 27, he went on trial again on new charges of assaulting a prison official and a state investigator.


A dual U.S.-Russian national, Karelina was detained on treason charges in February while visiting family in Yekaterinburg and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Her trial, behind closed doors, began on June 20 but was adjourned until Aug. 7, with no reason publicly stated.

The FSB has accused the Los Angeles resident of collecting funds for a Ukrainian organisation whose ultimate beneficiary was Ukraine’s army. Her family said she donated about $50 to a New York-based non-profit that donates non-military aid to Ukraine.


Barnes was sentenced by a Russian court in February 2024 to 21 years on charges of abusing his two sons in the United States. He had been involved in a custody dispute with his Russian ex-wife. The allegations had previously been investigated in Texas, where authorities found no grounds to charge him.


A former schoolteacher who was previously employed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Fogel is serving a 14-year sentence for drug smuggling after he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in August 2021 with 17 grams of marijuana – which he said he uses for medical reasons – in his luggage.

At the time of his arrest, Fogel, who is in his early 60s, worked at the now-shuttered Anglo-American School in Moscow.


Currently serving a 3-1/2-year sentence for bribery, Spector, who was born in Russia and then moved to the U.S., was charged last August with espionage.

Before his arrest in 2021, he served as chairman of the board of Medpolymerprom Group, a company specialising in cancer-curing drugs, state media said. Spector had pleaded guilty to helping bribe an assistant to an ex-Russian deputy prime minister.

(Reporting by Lucy Papachristou and Mark TrevelyanEditing by Timothy Heritage and Peter Graff)

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