US Marine veteran Trevor Reed is on his approach residence after being launched from Russia, the place officers mentioned he was wrongfully detained since 2019.
“At this time, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his approach again to the USA,” his household mentioned in a statement.
Reed’s launch got here as a part of a prisoner swap with Russia, with the US sending again Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot sentenced in 2011 to a 20-year jail time period for importing greater than $100 million of cocaine.
The shock prisoner change was the results of lengthy and tough negotiations between the US and Russia, based on each international locations. The fraught diplomacy was made all of the extra extraordinary due to the utter collapse of relations between Washington and Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden, who met with the Reed household final month, mentioned in a press release on Wednesday that the negotiations to launch him “required tough selections that I don’t take evenly.”
“I heard within the voices of Trevor’s mother and father how a lot they’ve nervous about his well being and missed his presence,” Biden mentioned. “And I used to be delighted to have the ability to share with them the excellent news about Trevor’s freedom.”
Reed, 30, was imprisoned for allegedly assaulting a police officer whereas he was drunk, however his household and US diplomats mentioned he was harmless, describing the proof towards him at trial as “preposterous” and “absurd.” As an alternative, they mentioned he was being held as a bargaining chip.
In current weeks, Reed’s well being had deteriorated and he had been hospitalized with indicators of tuberculosis and a doable damaged rib, based on the State Division, making his launch all of the extra pressing.
Reed’s household mentioned Biden’s resolution to go forward with the prisoner swap might have saved the previous Marine’s life. That they had beforehand expressed fears that Reed would possibly endure the identical destiny as Otto Warmbier, the American scholar held for 17 months in North Korea who went right into a coma after his 2017 launch and died.
The State Division has beforehand declined to establish precisely what number of Individuals have been detained in Russia, however there are at the least two high-profile prisoners who stay behind bars there: Paul Whelan and WNBA star Brittney Griner.
Whelan, one other former Marine, has been detained the longest, having been first arrested on the finish of 2018, and accused of being an American spy. His household has denied this, however he was sentenced in 2020 to 16 years in jail.
Ryan Fayhee, a former Justice Division official now appearing as a professional bono lawyer for the Wheeler household, mentioned that they had “advanced emotions” about Wednesday’s information.
“They want the household the perfect, however additionally they view this as a missed alternative,” Fayhee mentioned, pointing to the completely different crimes the 2 swapped prisoners had been convicted of. “It was a fairly excessive value to pay. When you make a comparability between the 2 individuals who’ve gone residence at present, to not embody Paul in that could be a missed alternative.”
Fayhee known as on Biden to satisfy with the Whelans like he did with the Reeds, and take into account various choices than prisoner exchanges as a way to free him.