The TFR Department for the Voronezh Region opened a criminal case on the attack on a local police officer against American tourist Robert Gilman. He was removed from the transit train with an expired visa, allegedly in a state of extreme intoxication, while the US citizen, according to the investigation, kicked the policeman several times. Mr. Gilman said in court that he stayed in Russia, planning to obtain citizenship, and also spoke about his Russian roots. The American claims that he felt bad on the train, lost consciousness, and woke up already in the police department.
On January 25, the Central District Court of Voronezh sent 27-year-old US citizen Robert Gilman under arrest to a local pre-trial detention center on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. This was reported in the regional department of the TFR, the identity of the detainee is mentioned in the file of the court.
The ICR reported that on the evening of January 17, Mr. Gilman was removed from the Sukhum-Moscow train in Voronezh in a “state of alcoholic intoxication” for violating public order. The US citizen “did not agree with the lawful actions of the authorities” and kicked an employee of the South-Eastern Linear Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Transport several times. After that, the American was tied up by other policemen. Now a tourist who arrived in Russia in December last year is charged with the use of violence against a government official in connection with the performance of his official duties (part 1 of article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, up to five years in prison).
Officially, Mr. Gilman was detained on suspicion of attacking a policeman on January 24, but during his week in Voronezh, he had already managed to participate in several trials three times.
As part of one of them, the Voronezh court came to the conclusion that the American was in the Russian Federation with an expired visa and avoided leaving the country after the end of the legal period of stay.
Mr. Gilman explained that he was forced to stay in Russia. He was here in transit, but at the airport he allegedly became ill, he lost consciousness and received a visa for urgent hospitalization. Subsequently, according to the tourist’s explanation, he “accidentally damaged” the passport of a US citizen, so he could not buy a plane ticket from Russia. He was forced to travel by train via Voronezh to the US Embassy in Moscow to renew his passport, but ultimately did not make it to the capital.
In the visa court, Mr. Gilman said that during his treatment he had plans to obtain Russian citizenship and stay in the country – his parents were from the post-Soviet space. For the visa delay, the court decided not to punish him, limiting himself to a verbal remark.
Mr. Gilman’s lawyer by appointment, Vladimir Agarkov, told Kommersant that his client refused to testify and pleaded not guilty to assaulting a policeman.
Mr. Gilman said that on the train passing by Voronezh, just like at the airport, he felt unwell, lost consciousness, and woke up at the police station.
The US embassy in the Russian Federation learned about the arrest of Mr. Gilman from a Kommersant correspondent. The embassy website reports that tourism in the Russian Federation for US citizens since January 23 has been assessed at the highest, red level of danger in connection with the events around Ukraine.