TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A Russian immigrant who once staged a monthlong hunger strike at an Arizona detention center and was shot months later during a struggle with a federal agent near the Mexican border was sentenced Tuesday to time served for illegally reentering the United States after he was deported.
Evgenii Glushchenko has already served about 151 days in custody. The plea deal that Glushchenko made two months ago said it was a virtual certainty that he will be deported.
He previously acknowledged he illegally crossed the border east of Lukeville, Arizona, in November 2019. He was shot in the thigh by a Border Patrol agent who tried to apprehend him.
About five months before the shooting, Glushchenko lost 25% of his body weight as he refused to eat until he was released from detention, leading a judge to give authorities the power to force-feed Glushchenko.
Once deported to Russia, Glushchenko resurfaced in Arizona several months later and was injured in the shooting.
One of his attorneys has said Glushchenko came to United States seeking asylum because he is a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which Russia banned in 2017 and declared to be an extremist organization.
In the shooting, authorities say Glushchenko ran from the Border Patrol agent, resisted the officer’s attempt to handcuff him and pulled the radio off his belt. They say Glushchenko then grabbed the agent’s genitals, leading the officer to shoot Glushchenko.
In his earlier arrest that led to the hunger strike, his lawyers had said Glushchenko and his wife fled Russia to Mexico after receiving “repeated government death threats” because of his work with western charities.
Prosecutors said investigators later discovered Glushchenko wasn’t actually married to the woman with whom he had a child. The woman is seeking asylum, according to court records.