U.S. decries lack of access to former Marine jailed in Russia - statement

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. ex-Marine Reed attends a court hearing in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said on Friday it had not been granted consular access to jailed former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed for 16 days, including receiving no updates on his health after he was diagnosed last month with COVID-19.

Reed, an American national sentenced to nine years after being convicted of endangering the lives of two Russian police officers while drunk in Moscow, a charge he denies, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 25, the embassy said in a statement.

"We are gravely concerned about his health," the U.S. Embassy in Moscow's Chargé d'affaires Bartle Gorman was cited in the statement as saying.

"Our constant requests for access to our citizen and updates about his medical condition have been ignored," Gorman was quoted as saying, adding it was a "brazen attempt to isolate" Reed from his family and government.

The embassy has issued a note of protest to the Russian foreign ministry, the statement said.

Reed was sentenced last July. He denies the charges and has described the case as "clearly political". The United States has labelled the trial a "theatre of the absurd" and lacking in serious evidence.

(Writing by Polina Ivanova; editing by Jonathan Oatis)