US Marine veteran Trevor Reed is on his approach dwelling after being launched from Russia, the place officers stated he was wrongfully detained since 2019.
“In the present day, our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his approach again to the US,” his household stated in a assertion.
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 troublesome negotiations between the US and Russia, in line with each nations. 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, stated in an announcement on Wednesday that the negotiations to launch him “required troublesome selections that I don’t take flippantly.”
“I heard within the voices of Trevor’s dad and mom how a lot they’ve anxious about his well being and missed his presence,” Biden stated. “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 stated he was harmless, describing the proof towards him at trial as “preposterous” and “absurd.” As a substitute, they stated 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, in line with the State Division, making his launch all of the extra pressing.
Reed’s household stated Biden’s determination to go forward with the prisoner swap could have saved the previous Marine’s life. They’d beforehand expressed fears that Reed would possibly undergo 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 People have been detained in Russia, however there are no less than 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 performing as a professional bono legal professional for the Wheeler household, stated that they had “complicated emotions” about Wednesday’s information.
“They need the household the perfect, however in addition they view this as a missed alternative,” Fayhee stated, pointing to the completely different crimes the 2 swapped prisoners have been convicted of. “It was a fairly excessive value to pay. Should you make a comparability between the 2 individuals who’ve gone dwelling at the moment, to not embrace Paul in that may be a missed alternative.”
Fayhee referred to as on Biden to fulfill with the Whelans like he did with the Reeds, and take into account different choices than prisoner exchanges so as to free him.